Garden centres report record sales over Easter weekend

Garden centres have hailed this Easter the best ever thanks to the hot weather and lateness of the festival.

David Danning of Trelawneys Garden Centres, said: "This is the best Easter we have ever had at both sites in the West Country. Easter weekend this year was much later and we’d expect more people to be gardening by now.

"The whole month is considerably up, which is good news. Biggest area of sales increase was barbecues, which was up 96% on last year, and garden furniture up 55% on April 2010.

Felicity and Alan Down of Cleeve Nurseries in Avon, said: "We are making and breaking records throughout April and have not known a spring like it in 28 years of trading. We did excellently on herbaceous plants and good on bedding.

"We were slightly disappointed with grow your own, but that could be down to people planting earlier this year."

Liz Hainsworth of Grandiflora Garden Centre in Pembrokeshire welcomed a "very busy weekend" following a muted start to the spring, but felt customers still felt the effects of recession.

The garden centre restaurant, which was open on Easter Sunday, was busy, but she felt people were put off by the small car park or distracted by nearby beaches.

Barry Hall of Little Heath Garden Centre in the west Midlands said: "We had a good weekend with strong sales on Friday, Saturday and Monday, especially furniture.

David Butler, general manager of the National Garden Gift Voucher scheme, said:  "The HTA-NGGV team have had a busy morning this morning with high levels of restocking from what was obviously a busy weekend for our members."

Up north, Curbishleys Roses in Cheshire enjoyed good sales on all days across all types including herbaceous, bedding and hardy nursery stock – a welcome "redress of balance" following a mountain of waste this winter.

Donaghadee Garden Centre in Northern Ireland saw plant sales up "very well" on last year - quadruple in some sectors. BBQ and furniture sales doubled against last year and restaurant trade was up almost a third.

Hayes Garden World in Cumbria enjoyed a much better Easter than in previous years, making it the best weekend for at least two years. Friday and Saturday saw "phenomenal" sales of furniture and BBQs, with sales and sundries selling well on Monday.

Plantation Garden Centre in Cheshire enjoyed good sales throughout the weekend, especially hardy nursery stock, bedding and grow your own plants and seeds.

Fryers Garden Centre, also in Cheshire, had a record Good Friday, with sales and foot fall far outstripping previous years. Plant sales were strong and BBQ and furniture sales were up on 2010. Bank holiday Monday saw a record day in the restaurant.

New Hopetoun Gardens in Broxburn, Scotland, reported a good weekend, though it was too far north to gain sales of bedding plants. Sales of hardy perennials and hardy nursery stock rose 9% on last year.

In the east region, Twenty Pence Garden Centre in Ely, Cambridgeshire, reported three good days trading, with increased footfall benefiting a new food hall significantly.

Sapcote in Leicester meanwhile had a record day on Easter Monday – its biggest single day in ten years trading – and nearby Houghtys enjoyed "excellent" sales on all gardening-related products.

Johnsons Garden Centre in Boston had a record day in the farm shop on Saturday and good restaurant business. Growth was in gardening through high customer traffic and £50 to £60 sales.  Furniture sales however were poor.

Strawberry Garden Centre in Staffordshire, clocked up 50% of its turnover on plants; well up on last Easter.

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