Reader Panel - How is the ban on hosepipe use affecting retail sales?

HW asked garden centre managers and industry representatives what has happened since the hosepipe ban was introduced on 5 April.

Centre owner

"The ban had no relevance to Easter trade, which was generally poor because of the wet weather. If it's not sunny, customers don't come out.

"We don't have a hosepipe ban in Essex and Suffolk but some customers don't know which area they belong to. We're trying to advise people by signage and emails that they need to be water wise.

"We don't want to put people off planting and we don't want to be over zealous. There will be a knock-on effect to a degree."

David Norman, owner, Abercorn Garden Centre

Planteria manager

"We are promoting drought-tolerant plants. Customers are asking questions and reading our leaflets. The area has been exceptionally dry.

"It wasn't the greatest of Easters. But now it's full steam ahead with bedding. There's no polyanthus or primroses left - the weather is a month in advance and has brought everything on.

"Customers want to know what will grow in full sun so we will buy more geraniums and begonias."

Mike Easom, planteria manager, Buckingham Garden Centre

Trade body chief

"We went into Easter on the back of a buoyant period. But high-ticket sales for barbecues, furniture and project work didn't materialise for members due to the weather.

"Footfall was up by four per cent, customer spend rose in catering by nine per cent and overall turnover by seven per cent.

"It's too early to say how the hosepipe ban has affected plant sales. It has not affected the consumer yet with all the rain that has just fallen."

Phil Slinger, chief executive, garden centre association

Association director

"For garden centres, it is too early to tell whether they have lost sales because of the hosepipe ban.

"For landscapers, I've heard reports that jobs have been cancelled or postponed until the autumn. From a commercial point of view, they are going to feel it quite hard.

"I'm pretty sure that the hosepipe ban will last through the summer and the water companies may well keep it in place over the winter too."

Tim Briercliffe, business development director, HTA.

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