Garden industry gears up for bank holiday

The garden industry is eagerly awaiting the first spring bank holiday following record sales for many in recent weeks.

Garden centres stock up
Garden centres stock up

Frosts are forecast in some places, while supply shortages are a potential problem, but retailers are optimistic ahead of the long weekend.

Stewarts Gardenlands managing director Martin Stewart said: "We might be fortunate down south to avoid frosts. We're quietly optimistic. Recent rain has been quite good to set up May. We had a record March and are just four per cent off a record April."

Mr Fothergill’s is 20-25 per cent up so far this year. Commercial director Tim Jefferies said seed sales were buoyant with 85,000 Chelsea pensioner Poppy Victoria Cross packets sold.

He said garden centres were up by more than key accounts because the independent retailers lost more last year. Bank holidays could still be busy for us as a seed company."

GCA chairman Will Armitage said: "For the bank holiday we’re expecting cold evenings and dry days so we’re stocking up."

William Sinclair marketing director Simon McCardle said: "We’re substantially up on 2013 and we’re beating 2012. But the supply chain is groaning a bit from everyone’s perspective. Everyone in growing media is fighting for vehicles."

He said lawncare sales are strong but there is a potential shortage of weed and feed granular product following a flood in February at supplier PB Kent: "Everyone has been squeezed a little bit in the supply chain."

Stewart said he has not had any supply issues from Solus, which is for sale, though he is receiving more product from Decco, Westland and Gardman.

A Solus representative dismissed rumours the company would be split up and said that negotiations were progressing with buyers.

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