Primroses, fence panels and manure feature strongly as sales improve

March garden centre sales increased by up to 150 per cent, with top sellers including primroses, fence panels and horse manure selling out as soils leached following heavy winter rains.

Alton Garden Centre director Andy Bunker said March outdoor plant sales were 150 per cent up. "Outside sales have had their best ever March and best ever first quarter." First-quarter outdoor sales were double 2013. Westland farmyard manure and compost generally were up 40 per cent and Bunker is "struggling" to restock on fence panels.

William Sinclair marketing director Simon McArdle said: "Sales are up by double digits on last March. Stable manure has been selling out because nutrients have been washed away and gardeners need to replace them."

Mr Fothergill's commercial director Tim Jeffries added: "March retail sales are up 15-20 per cent or more on March 2013. Sales kicked-off with the sunshine."

Waitrose finance director Tom Athron said compost sales were up 38 per cent, bulbs 30 per cent and houseplants 26 per cent for the week ending 22 March.

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