Retail sales figures for January down on 2011, centres report

Nine per cent monthly decrease blamed on milder weather ironing out winter peaks and troughs.

Garden Centre Association (GCA) figures for January 2012 have shown a downturn against January 2011. Early figures received from 18 centres revealed a nine per cent drop.

Former GCA chairman Dennis Espley said his Squire's chain was flat over the month, which was "disappointing".

Last year, January sales were good after snow wrecked December sales. Milder weather throughout this winter has ironed out peaks and troughs, he added.

Elsewhere, Garden Press Event exhibitors reported ordinary January sales. Gardman marketing director Jane Lawler said bird care sales - listed under pets and aquatics - had been challenging all winter. However, she voiced high hopes for the category now it was colder.

Thompson & Morgan young plants managing director Paul Hansord said garden centre sales were "okay", while mail-order sales were up by eight per cent. Bayer said new packaging had brought in promising orders.

Category January 2012
Houseplants 20% Down
Outdoor plants 21% Up
Seeds and bulbs 13% Down
Sundries 11% Down
Furniture and barbecues 17% Down
Pets and aquatics 28% Down
Gifts 13% Down
Christmas 19% Down
Hard landscaping 33% Up
Food hall 9% Down
Clothing 12% Down
Catering 0?4% Down
Overall 9% Down

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