HTA predicts gardening 'spending splurge'

Figures suggest garden centres may soon be enjoying a spring spending frenzy.

Retailers outside the drought-stricken South East could soon be enjoying a spring spending frenzy. The HTA believes garden centres could enjoy a 12 per cent sales boom in May and June compared with last year, putting an extra £600m through retailers’ tills. The organisation used Garden Industry Monitor data to predict a “green stampede” with the arrival of milder temperatures. The figures suggest periods of uncharacteristically poor weather are followed by dramatic spending peaks as gardeners go into “buying overdrive”. HTA representative Andrew Maxted said sales data suggested that after a spell of bad weather, gardeners did not “just play catch up”, but their “desperation to get outdoors… actually triggers a spending splurge”. He said there was a £93.7m “Indian summer of spending” last August following July’s 16 per cent above average rainfall. Similarly, sales in May 2001 were up by 19 per cent on the previous May, following April’s 61 per cent above average rainfall. Garden & Leisure Group operations director Carol Paris said the prediction was reflective of what the company was witnessing. April had been an “excellent” month, with sales up 20 per cent on April 2005, and so far May had been “extremely good” as well. Paris said plant sales were “exceptionally good” and furniture sales were starting to rise.

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