Warning on Christmas stock

Christmas tree growers exhibiting at last week’s Four Oaks Trade Show have warned retailers who have yet to order trees for the coming season to act now or risk losing out thanks to a fall in production.

Many are predicting a fall in total stock this year of around 15 to 20 per cent — in part due to a number of growers leaving the market, while mild winter weather has also caused problems. Growers predict the shortages could get even worse next year. Sadie Lynes of grower Jadecliff, a family business based in Newbury, Berkshire, said independent retailers in particular were at risk of missing out due to the shortages. “[Christmas] is a big time for garden centres — they have three cold months in front of them with no income,” she said. “My advice is don’t be late — be upfront and accept that prices have changed.” Lynes said multiples have completed their ordering so they won’t get caught out. She added: “The next five years will be a problem.” Lynes’ comments were echoed by The Christmas Cabin director Alex Theobald, based at grower Cadeby Tree Trust’s site in Nuneaton, who said he expected overall supply to the market to be 15 per cent down this year: “Normally people are ordering in September or October but there has been a lot of selling in May, June and July.” Cadeby also provides Christmas tree maintenance services to growers. “Two or three big suppliers have stopped supplying,” Theobald said. “It will be a big issue next year.”

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