NGGVs provide Xmas sales boost

Demand for the HTA's National Garden Gift Vouchers (NGGV) in garden centres was strong in the lead up to Christmas with sales to the top 20 NGGV retailers up by 25% for December.

Overall sales for NGGV in December 2008, which were more than £5 million, were up on sales for December 2007.

NGGV was advertised on TV advertising for the first time this December. The ad, filmed at Leighton Buzzard Garden Centre, appeared in 250 slots across five UK TV lifestyle channels - reaching an audience of over 20 million.

In addition to this there was a wider media campaign which resulted in coverage in titles such as SkyMag, Woman Magazine, Sunday Express, Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Evening Standard Homes & Property, Countryside Magazine, Country House Magazine, Country Living Magazine, regional newspapers and local radio.

NGGV also featured new point-of-sale materials and a 24-hour online ordering service.

NGGV sales were up 5% up at Donaghadee Garden Centre, 16% up at Alton Garden Centre and 9% up at Pennells Garden Centre. Longacres Garden Centre reported their best sales of NGGV for December 2008.

NGGV general manager David Butler said: "It is encouraging to see that despite the credit crunch demand for NGGV continues to be high and NGGVs continue to be one of the strongest-selling lines at Christmas time. However, a voucher is not just for Christmas and we remind members of their importance and value all year round helping to bring new customers through their doors."

Butler added: "A small number of members failed to realise the benefit of this strong demand by not ordering adequate stock of NGGV for the festive period - missing out not only on sales of vouchers but on sales of other products that people buy when purchasing vouchers and leaving customers frustrated. With plenty of exciting marketing plans in the pipeline for our spring 2009 campaign we urge members to stock up now so that they can be ready to reap the benefits of NGGV."

HRA marketing director Andrew Maxted suggested customers were more choosy about buying the right gift when money was tight leading them to opt for vouchers.

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