July garden centre sales have held their own

July garden centre sales are equal or an improvement on 2011's, say garden centre representatives.

GCA chairman and Garden Centre Group regional manager Peter Burks said July will probably be "slightly" up on 2011.

He added:

Plants are selling well – shrubs and herbaceous.  The hot spell has been enough to get people outside doing something in the garden."

"The biggest issue this year has been the erratic nature of it because of the weather. We get two or three days of quite good weather then a load of awful weather. It makes it really difficult on the shop floor to get staff to focus on what products to sell at the moment. In the restaurant for instance when it’s wet and horrible it’s all hot soup and then it’s sunny and ice cream and salad. It’s something we’ll have to get used to because the trend is for more erratic weather."

Orchard Park garden centre MD Richard Cumming said:

"July started very poorly and I was seriously worried but in the last couple of weeks we’ve made a lot more progress and it will be at least as good as 2011, perhaps a little better. Plant sales have come back but some landscape sales have suffered. Furniture and barbecues have been reasonable."

Scotsdale MD Caroline Owen said:

"July was there or thereabouts on last year. When it came hot it was probably too hot and the rest of the weather was a bit dismal."

Squire’s MD Dennis Espley said:

"When there was good weather people came out and bought furniture and barbecues and even watering equipment started to sell a bit. But I think we have to put this year behind us and start again. We don’t have too much stock and that’s a good thing. The weather was so bad in April we’ve had months to get the stock down."

Grower Johnsons of Whixley director Andrew Richardson said:

"Garden centre sales are 12 per cent down on budget this year with independent garden centres just about the worst hit. Homebase has taken pretty much everything they’ve had on order, all credit to them. We got the March 15 per cent up on landscape sales but garden centre sales didn’t happen so we’re now smack on budget. Some chains had put a big increase in production after the last couple of years being quite good and have been left with a lot of stock.

"A lot of garden centre groups are still sat on stuff they got in March. Some have handled problems this spring better than others.  All of the garden centres haven’t taken the stock that was booked and all nurseries that have got reserves have been hard hit. People haven’t taken their reserves."

He said Dobbies and Garden & Leisure had taken everything ordered. He added that bedding growers working with B&Q and Homebase have had a "tough time". Richardson said 95 per cent of the low sales problem was down to weather.

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