The South Thames inspector said: "Standards are very high, in part because levels of trade are lower than expected so there is more time and less disruption to the retail offer. Everyone is driving the business harder to compensate for the difficult weather conditions."
He also noted that there was a lot more communication about events and community activities to drive footfall. Retailers had given the environmental positions of garden centres a greater profile through better communications, he added.
On products, Campbell said he had noticed scaled back offers in the garden furniture, barbecue and hard landscaping categories. Taking their place were enhanced catering offers as well as more indoor lifestyle and clothing products.
See GCA award winners across eight regional presentations.