Plant sales lift growers' hopes

Suppliers optimistic for 2012 given outdoor plant sales at garden centres and sales to councils.

Outdoor plant sales are set to keep rising in garden centres in 2012 with a more positive outlook for council sales on the cards too, according to suppliers.

Garden Centre Association figures from 60 centres showed outdoor plant sales were up 48 per cent in December and 4.6 per cent in 2011 over 2010, and suppliers said 2012 growth could be as good.

Farplants sales and marketing director Nick Richards said after 12 per cent growth in 2011 he hopes for eight-tonine per cent in 2012.

Some competitors dropping out of the independent garden centre plant market, including Kinglea, would help sales, he suggested.

"We are still seeing UK garden centres very loyal to UK growers. We're feeling optimistic across the board." He said herbs, herbaceous and bedding were doing well, while grow your own had plateaued but was still good.

Kernock Park Plants business development manager Mark Taylor said 2012 orders were slightly ahead of 2011. The positive outlook was fuelled by Instaplant sales for Olympic and diamond jubilee displays, he added.

Among councils to take Olympic bedding are Hounslow and Weymouth, while Blackpool, Guildford, Crown Estates, Hampton Court, Erewash, Shepway and Sedgemoor are planning Kernock jubilee displays.

Meanwhile, Bransford Webbs is budgeting for growth of six per cent.

Cheshire-based garden retailer Bents, which also grows its own plants, is expecting two per cent growth in 2012 after a five per cent rise in the year to 31 January, to take sales to £13.5m.

Suttons Seeds marketing director David Arnold said overall his market would be flat, as it was in 2011, but the company had won new business this week and he expected seven-to-eight per cent net volume growth.


48% - Percentage rise in outdoor plant sales in December 2011, according to Garden Centre Association figures.

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