Sales rocket over bank holiday

Suppliers eye chance to make up some of this year's losses with likely extended garden season.

Garden centre sales are on the way up - image: HW
Garden centre sales are on the way up - image: HW

Garden centre sales hit record levels during the May Day bank holiday weekend and were up seven per cent in April, according to latest Garden Centre Association figures. The boost comes after March saw a 32 per cent decline.

Garden centre figures supplied to HW saw sales in the week to 5 May 45 per cent up on 2012, with garden furniture up 300 per cent, plants up 170 per cent and sundries up 100 per cent.

Buckingham Nurseries assistant general manager Mike Easom said: "Plants were 107 per cent up. We had a record-breaking week on nearly all our categories."

Mr Fothergill's has seen a 40-70 per cent increase in sales on last year in the past three weeks. Mr Fothergill's/DT Brown general manager Tim Jeffries said: "Sales have improved dramatically. Spring has sprung. Seed sales are ahead of last year. People are catching up."

Mr Fothergill's is using point of sale saying: "There's still time to sow." Jeffries said gardeners should ignore advice on packets to plant in April, saying May will be like April should have been.

Mark Clementson, retail sales manager at young plant supplier Quantil, said: "We've seen an upturn in the past three weeks. But up to then it was not good. If the season extends like last year we will pull some back but not to where we want to be."

Bord na Mona business operations manager Steve Harper said: "It's started but it's a slow burn. We're on a more normal track but it will be a shorter, higher peak."

Hillier managing director Andy McIndoe said: "April was wildly better than April 2012, but let's get real. The first two weeks were still poor, then the last two were quite good. We jacked our budget up on last year and we might have hit budget but not wildly exceeded it. We're still running behind 2012."

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