Retailers enjoy bumper Easter sales

Garden centre Easter sales were encouraging for retailers, with everyone up on 2008 and many beating 2007 levels. Here are a selection of comments from retailers across the country.

Carole Goodchild of Burston Garden Centre, St Albans, Hertfordshire "The run-up to Easter was very busy and buoyant due to good weather. Easter itself was reasonably satisfying although we were hit by continuous poor, wet weather all the way through — right until the early afternoon of the Bank Holiday Monday. We were, however, very encouraged by strong sales right across our product range and our star performers were most definitely grow-your-own products. Indoor furniture sales were also very encouraging and a large number of customers were buying larger specimen plants for the 'instant' gardening effect. To summarise, we have been far less affected by the credit crunch and, again, far more by the weather."

Chris Coward of Downtown Garden Centre, Grantham, Nottinghamshire "Friday and Saturday were a bit quiet due to the weather but there was steady footfall, with the outdoor sector performing best — particularly plants, barbecues, mowers and garden buildings. We ended up beating Easter 2007 figures overall."

Graham Stephenson of Whiteley's Garden Centre, Mirfield, West Yorkshire "It was very, very good. Plants saw a massive increase and we sold out of veg plants by Saturday. Garden furniture also did well. We are confident about the rest of the season."

James Ducker of Langlands Garden Centre. York "We had a fantastic Easter weekend. Overall sales were up 89% on 2008. Top-performing departments were: garden furniture, up 326%; outdoor plants, up 310%; bedding plants, up 193%; and pots and containers, up 163%. We also had a very busy weekend in our coffee shop and cafe bar, which were up 28%."

Iain Wylie of Grosvenor Garden Centre, Chester "We had a fantastic Easter weekend. We are well ahead of last year and even beating 2007."

Martin Stewart of Stewarts Garden Centres, Dorset "As it turned out, it was not a bad Easter, but it was not a record-breaker either. We ended up 43% up on last year but still 17% down on 2007, which was a record."

Adam Wigglesworth of Ayletts Nurseries, St Albans, Hertfordshire "We had a solid weekend trading with sales significantly up on last year's disappointing Easter."

Alan Bryan of Byrkley Garden Centre, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire "We are 46 per cent up on Easter 2008 and 39 per cent up on this time last year (Friday to Monday). A major disappointment continues to be our inability to open on Easter Sunday."

Alan Down of Cleeve Nursery & Garden Centre, Bristol
"Records were broken. Sales for the weekend were over 100% up on Easter weekend last year. Grow-your-own fruit and veg is still the star performer. Our coffee shop just keeps on smashing records. The average sale per customer is £27 today. Lots of new [and younger] customers were attracted by our recent schools scarecrow competition."

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