Garden centres can increase sales by installing soft play areas, owners and suppliers have reported.
Doncaster-based House of Play representative Shaun Wilson said 39 Garden Centre Group centres had added the facilities to their restaurants to date and more are planned for 2012.
The programme started in April 2010. "We are now receiving more enquiries from garden centres. Getting into a big group has helped in raising our profile," said Wilson.
He added: "Soft play areas increase dwell time and help to make a visit a more family-oriented experience, as well as capitalising on the restaurant.
"Anything in a retail environment where there is family footfall, we can capitalise on. Kids tend to have to tag along and play areas captivate them. We expect that to become more and more important."
Play areas are typically for 20 children aged seven and under and have enclosed seating for parents.
RETAILER VIEW ON BENEFIT OF SOFT PLAY AREAS
Peter Burks, regional manager, Garden Centre Group
"We have just opened a soft play area in our region at Jack's Patch in Teignmouth. It has certainly seemed to have a positive effect on restaurant sales, with mums coming in from first thing, spending well and entertaining their kids. We have another one planned for Sanders Garden World in 2012."