Garden centres pull out the stops for Christmas

Garden centre sales remained quite strong for the third week of October with Christmas sales remaining buoyant.

Alton Garden Centre director Andy Bunker said: "Everyone I have spoken to says Christmas is ahead like-for-like on last year compared to last year. People are enjoying buying Christmas."

Sales were close to those of 2011 last week and are ahead on the month and year to date. Garden Centre Association figures saw Christmas up 17 per cent for September.

Garden retailers are excelling themselves in the hope that Christmas 2012 will make up for a poor year.

Circuses, reindeer and using Santa for a variety of events are most popular ideas this year, but pop-up shops are out, with only Notcutts having branches in shopping centres this season.

At Gardens Group, for the first time, three reindeers will visit. Chessington Garden Centre is hosting Cirque Normandie and Santa’s Grotto. Whitehall has an ice rink, circus and breakfast with Santa.

Notcutts has Deck the Halls sections at its 19 centres, with Santa arriving, tree decorating competition, grotto, letters to Santa, Santa’s golden ticket and tea and breakfast with Santa. Stewart’s has an alpine theme with a polar bear band, sleigh being pulled by two reindeer and Thomas the Tank Engine for the outdoors.

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