Garden centres report modest sales increases for September overall

Iain Wylie
Iain Wylie

Garden centre sales were up by one per cent in September and four per cent for the year to date, according to latest Garden Centre Association figures.

Meanwhile sales in the week to 6 October were nine per cent up, against the same week in 2012, according to figures supplied to Horticulture Week.

Christmas was up 40 per cent, clothes were up 10 per cent, craft was up 40 per cent, food was up 10 per cent, sundries were up four per cent, gifts were up six per cent, houseplants were up one per cent, outdoor plants were up 15 per cent and restaurant was up 10 per cent. Books were down and furniture was down 30 per cent.

GCA interim chief executive Iain Wylie said: "We will take that rise because it has been a hit and miss month. Christmas has started well at the centres I have visited and plants are still doing well when the weather is ok. If Christmas is as good as last year garden centres will take that given how things started at the end of last year."

Figures released in BDO’s monthly High Street Sales Tracker show overall like-for-like high street sales in September were up 0.6 per cent.

Non-fashion was up 3.7% with all areas apart from outdoor goods performing well. The recovering housing market helped to boost homewares sales (up 12.8 per cent) but this is also flattered by the last four years of depressed like-for-like sales.

Don Williams, national head of retail and wholesale at BDO LLP, said tough conditions were continuing to polarise the High Street: "The brands doing well are stealing market share from their rivals. September saw a game of nerve being played, with bolder retailers driving footfall and conversion imaginatively rather than resorting solely to price led promotion. High profile events like London Fashion Week also helped create demand for fashion in the middle of the month.

"Increasing job security is also helping to encourage spending. The reality is that although consumers are still feeling the pinch they are less worried about losing their jobs," Williams explained. "Against this backdrop of confidence, those retailers who continue to innovate, whether in product, promotion, service or operational efficiencies whilst adding a touch theatre needed to get people across the threshold (either online or in the real world) are going to be successful."


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