Retailers mull sales impact of hosepipe bans

Coolings expects to lose 10-15 per cent of sales because of the hosepipe ban, managing director Gary Carvosso has said.

Sales were currently level with the "fabulous" March 2011, he added, but he was budgeting for a drop following the 5 April ban, similar to the last restrictions in 2006. "We're bring cautious in production and buying. It's a shame because everything is built on last year, which was a record year."

Coolings is promoting the use of timers and drippers and Carvosso said water butt sales were up tenfold, although there were now supply delays. He reported great interest in the firm's irrigation installation service and said a recent sale of £1,000 of bamboo was based on supplying timed drip irrigation.

Meanwhile, B&Q said water butt sales were up 196 per cent. Haskins has seen a 330 per cent sales increase on water butts and a 40 per cent rise in watering can sales.

Retail operations manager Dean Ridley said: "A very dry summer can cause problems for many customers who are reliant on using hosepipes and sprinkler systems. But many experts say we tend to overwater plants in the summer, so drip-irrigation can help to conserve water."

Supplier Gardman has seen a 25 per cent uplift in watering can sales to retailers and expects this to grow.

Seven southern and eastern water companies brought in a hosepipe ban for gardeners this week.

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