Garden retailers must harness social media and tailor offering to capitalise on Olympic and Jubilee year - HTA

Garden retail sales in September and October were up 3% and 10% respectively with nursery sales up 6% to the end of October according to the latest HTA Market Update.

But the buoyant autumn results, lifted by unseasonably warm weather which boosted plant and bulb sales in particular, are tempered by a sobering outlook as unemployment hits new heights and consumer confidence new lows.

The HTA said businesses must target customers with tailored offerings and harness social media such as Facebook to enhance their word-of-mouth marketing.

HTA Director of Marketing and Communications Andrew Maxted said: "The garden industry has made the most of the mild autumn with core garden sales doing well. With increasing numbers of younger consumers taking an interest in their gardens this bodes well for underlying demand next spring."

He added: "While the uncertainties in the Eurozone and the wider economic outlook are concerns for all of us, the garden industry is resilient and we can look forward to a boost from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics in 2012."

Along with the figures from the association’s Garden Retail Monitor the HTA Market Update presents data from the BRC KPMG Retail Sales Monitor and provides a summary of consumer confidence indices, UK house prices and weather data from the met office.

Free to HTA members the HTA Market Update can be downloaded from the HTA website.

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