Garden centres thinking positive after rain hits Easter sales by up to 40%

With eight weeks of the season to go, 2012 could still be the best ever season for garden centres according to Millbrook MD Tammy Woodhouse.

It was the rain, rather than the drought, that hit Easter garden centre sales in 2012 - image: Morguefile
It was the rain, rather than the drought, that hit Easter garden centre sales in 2012 - image: Morguefile

She said Easter Monday was a "disaster" because of rain and the week was 20% down on target but that is against a "fantastic April 2011, when Millbrook had its best month ever".

Both Millbrook’s centres, in Gravesend and Crowborough, are in hosepipe ban areas, but that has not stopped hosepipe sales being 60% up on last year.

Woodhouse said: "It’s like it has been brought to gardeners attention so they buy them. It’s like someone says you can’t have chocolate so all you want is chocolate."

She added that lots of water butts and drip irrigation devices were selling too.

For plants, Woodhouse said the impact of the hosepipe ban had not had an effect yet, with bedding still selling well.

Hillier MD Andy McIndoe said:

"Obviously Easter was very poor after last year. Monday was a washout - but none of us can complain about the rain and we're still thinking positive."

Klondyke MD Bob Hewitt said:

"Easter weekend including the two bank holidays was down by 40% versus Easter weekend last year. Awful weather this year versus fabulous weather last year! It's as simple as that!"

Abercorn Garden Centre owner David Norman said:

"The hosepipe ban had no relevance to Easter, which was generally poor for trading because of cold and overcast weather, that got wetter and wetter. It was the first rain we’ve had in a long while, but if it’s not sunny, they don’t come out.

"We don’t have a hosepipe ban in Essex and Suffolk area but soime customers aren't aware if they have a ban or not. They don’t know whch area they belong to. We’re trying to advise people by signage and emails to our database. Although they haven’t got a ban they need to be prepared and buy water butts and be water wise. We don't want to put people off from planting but we don't want to be over zealous. There will be a knock-on effect to a degree."

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