Growers predict healthy spring sales

Orders look likely to fare well in comparison with last year's bumper bank holiday season sales.

Nursery order books are filling up and growers are predicting this spring could fare reasonably well in comparison with last year, despite 2011's bumper season.

Last year, four bank holidays in 11 days and good weather in April resulted in plant sales rocketing by more than 25 per cent. But David Austin Roses European director Tony Slack said wholesale orders were up this year.

"We weren't expecting it after last year's wonderful spring," he added. "We're well in advance on wholesale and we're not seeing any effects of the recession - we're more weatherthan economy-dependent. We predicted autumn sales would be down because in the two previous years so many people had stock losses, but we're well ahead of projections."

Whetman Pinks managing director Carolyn Bourne said: "We're 25 per cent up on last year, down to good products and branding and meeting the market as well as attention to detail."

Lowaters managing director Ian Ashton said: "We're as reserved as we'd expect to be at this time of the year. Some centres ran stock down before Christmas because they were nervous about the weather. But now we're seeing orders coming through.

He added: "It will be tough to beat last spring, but we have had a fantastic run of weather so people want to garden early. Our customers are confident, providing there's no appalling weather."

Ornamental Plants sales director Ian Howard said order books were at capacity until the end of May. He added that the multiples market had more peaks and troughs than ever and orders fell away quickly in June.


25% - Increase in sales compared with last year in one specialist nursery order book.

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