Warm weather helped members of the Garden Centre Association (GCA) boost their sales of barbecues and garden furniture in May according to the body’s Barometer of Trade (BoT).
The results highlighted that furniture and barbecue sales were up 23.4 per cent compared to the same month in 2013.
Overall sales were up about three per cent, with the year about 16 per cent up compared to 2013 by the end of May.
GCA chairman Will Armitage said: "Overall our member garden centres had a good May, busier than anticipated with the weather playing a vital part in their successes. All categories were up on the year to date, which is also very encouraging.
"As well as furniture and barbecues, the other categories that saw significant increases during the month were hard landscaping, which was up by 11.12 per cent, pets and aquatics up by 7.79 per cent, clothing up by 7.89 per cent, gifts by 7.02 per cent and catering by 5.64 per cent."
Outdoor plants were down about four per cent, with seeds and bulbs down about 23 per cent. Sundries were flat.
Creative Gardens finance and marketing director Philip Gass said: "We’ve had a good year for furniture and barbecues generally, and as usual it is probably down to a combination of factors. The weather has been good most of this year – we haven’t had the snow or bad weather in Northern Ireland that we got last year, and May was particularly good with generally mild and dry weather."
"We’ve made a conscious effort this year to select ranges that are harder to compare online and differ from our local competitors, and where we’ve found the comparable models we have been able to compete by adding value in the form of a loyalty points bonus or including things like gas cans or covers."
General manager for Trelawney@Wadebridge and Trelawney@Ashford garden centres Peter Burks said: "Sales of furniture and barbecues at both of our centres were well up on last year, and were better than the last three years. I think the good summer last year is still helping as well as the good weather now. This trend has continued well into June with the current hot spell seeing massive increases in barbecue sales."Whitehall Garden Centre managing director Peter Self said: "Our sales increases are due to a number of things: having a dedicated Weber concept area, a large range of associated accessories and dedicated staffing at peak periods. We also held a Weber cookery demo evening in May that stimulated a great deal of interest and encouraged further sales."