Sales upturn expected to continue but forecast carries threat of frost

Garden retailers expect sales to continue their upward curve for the first May bank holiday weekend but have warned that forecast frosts might hit tender-plant sales.

Squire's managing director Dennis Espley said: "April is 20 per cent up at present, like for like. The forecast for a cooler weekend is a slight concern and frost might inhibit bedding sales."

Garden Centre Association chairman Will Armitage said following members' gains of 40 per cent in March and 20 per cent for the first quarter: "April so far has been okay for us. One centre is 17 per cent up and another is 16 per cent up, but all that shows is last year was bad. We're up on 2012 and 2013 but not necessarily on 2010 and 2011."

HTA chief executive Carol Paris said: "After phenomenal sales over Easter, everyone is looking forward to the bank holiday. Sales have picked up. The weather has been with us, the economy is improving and people are getting into their gardens."

The Met Office is forecasting that most areas will be fine and dry with sunny spells this weekend (3-4 May) but with "fairly widespread ground frost".

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