The break fell in different weeks in 2011 compared to 2012. Direct comparisons show a number of highlights with Christmas sales in 2012 up 12 per cent, food up eight per cent, clothing up seven per cent, restaurant sales up five per cent up, gifts up three per cent and books up two per cent.
But outdoor plants fared badly, down more than a quarter, as were sundries. Cyclamen, pansies and violas sold best but suffered against last year's sales.
Alton Garden Centre director Andy Bunker said October was poor apart from Christmas sales. He said Christmas was poised to boost the bottom line as it became a greater proportion of sales up to December 25. But he said plants were set to be up to 20 per cent down this year.
North One and West Six Garden Centre owner Beryl Henderson said October was slightly down, which was "disappointing" after August and September were over 30 per cent up.