Plant sales were up, though garden furniture and barbecue sales suffered because the weather was colder. The Royal Wedding put of shoppers on 29 April, but the following three days were all busy, say retailers.
Simon Fraser of Ben Reid Garden Centre in Aberdeen said:
"Trade was very strong over the weekend, sunny but cool conditions led to increased footfall and turnover culminating in our best ever April figures. Plant sales were very strong, including shrubs, herbaceous and annuals."
Robin Wylie of Woodlawn Garden Centre, Northern Ireland, added:
"We’re very happy with the April figures which show a good increase on last year. Sales of plants seemed to centre around core gardening and hardy shrubs popular 10 years ago, with good sales of Rhododendrons, Cytisus and Escallonia. Friday morning was very quiet during the wedding, but by the afternoon we were really busy and the rest of the weekend was exceptional."
North Wales Garden World’s Hugh Marston said:
"We had fantastic trade over the weekend, well up on last year’s trading figures and lower-end furniture and BBQs selling well. GYO and bedding plant sales are particularly strong."
Andrew Rigby of Pimbo Garden Centre in Lancashire added:
"This has been a record April. Sales are strong throughout the centre. Sunday was very good and Monday, a record day with strong sales across all departments."
Brookside Garden Centre’s Simon Shead said:
"Sales over the weekend have broken all previous records, we are around 76 per cent up on last year and sales last year bucked a trend. Easter weekend was good on furniture and barbeques, but this weekend was all about plants.The morning of the royal wedding day was quiet as expected, but the afternoon and the rest of the weekend was phenomenal."
Philip Evason of Haskins added:
"A tremendous early May Bank Holiday sales period. Across all the gardening categories we experienced strong growth during the weekend and on Bank Holiday Monday. Trade was understandably quieter on the morning of the royal wedding, but sales in the afternoon were buoyant. The customer footfall in our garden centres supports the need to maintain this early May Bank holiday to allow gardeners and those who enjoy the outdoors to pursue their interests and hobbies.
"There were strong sales in herbaceous plants, roses, and climbing plants. Bedding plants hanging baskets and outdoor containers saw year on year increases of 35 per cent. In the sundries category, plant supports, grow bags, compost and ornaments increased by 4 per cent. In summary a splendid bank holiday for sales, and great to see our customers showing interest across all the outdoor categories for barbeques, furniture and picnic-ware."
Tim Godwin of Fosseway Garden Centre, Gloucestershire said: "It was a very good weekend – glad the weather stayed fine. Well up on last year but down on Easter. BBQ, Furniture and gifting food (biscuits, pickles etc) all went well, as did the restaurant. Bedding kicked off big time."
Tim Goold of Henry Street Garden Centre in Berkshire said: "We saw strong sales on all lines, especially bedding and other plants."
Richard Cumming of Orchard Park Garden Centre in Dorset said bank holiday Monday 2011 was up by 16 per cent on the same day in 2010, with good sales on bedding, lower price point trees and shrubs. Furniture and barbeques did not sell as well as expected – but had been up throughout April.