Retailers report sales growth despite poor spring weather

New trade figures suggest retailers are having a better year than expected after the dismal weather conditions in late spring.

New figures from the GCA’s Barometer of Trade report show most of its member garden centres have enjoyed solid growth for the year until the end of September. GCA administrator Gillie Westwood said 45 of the 58 respondents reported growth for the year to date. Stores with a turnover of under £2m were up 4.98 per cent year to date and up 3.88 per cent for September. Those with a turn-over of £2m to £4m showed growth of 3.92 per cent year to date — up 4.47 per cent for September — while stores with turnovers above £4m were up 10 per cent year to date and up 11.8 per cent for September. All sectors reported growth, although non-core areas had the biggest rises — catering was up 9.91 per cent year to date and 10.45 per cent for the month — while giftware was up 14.98 per cent year to date and 19.5 per cent for September. Plants had seen some growth —houseplants were up by 3.13 per cent and outdoor plants up by 7.22 per cent year to date — while sundries were up nine per cent. Westwood said it appeared financial pressures such as rising mortgage rates had not filtered through to customer spending. September had been a solid month and early indications suggested October would show positive growth as well. Trelawney Garden Leisure owner director David Danning said autumn trade had been “quite rosy”. While other money issues should have knocked consumer confidence, they were still shopping although there was less interest in big-ticket items. Coolings Nurseries chairman Paul Cooling said the weather had been kind, allowing people to spend time in their gardens, and it was seeing sales across all sectors.

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