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Record sales at garden centres23 May 2011
Britain’s garden centres experienced bumper Easter and May bank holiday – with sales soaring by up to 80 per cent on last year.
Despite the economic gloom, and a ban on Easter Sunday trading, retailers smashed records as gardeners queued at the tills.
The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) described the May bank holiday weekend as “phenomenal”. Sales of National Garden Gift Vouchers broke records – up by 160 per cent on last year.
Managing director of Squires Garden Centres, Dennis Espley, said sales were up by 77 per cent over the Easter bank holiday weekend and by 30 per cent over the May bank holiday – compared to 2010.
Dennis, who is chairman of the Garden Centre Association, told AG: “We were delighted. It was down to the weather, and a good forecast. People could see that we were in for good weather.
Squires chiefs said 25 per cent of sales comprised garden furniture and barbecues (it would normally be 15 per cent) while gardeners flocked to buy bedding plants and compost, too.
Dennis added: “Grow-your-own was very popular. People who have grown more confident with tomatoes and peppers are experimenting with more unusual veg such as beetroot, celeriac and butternut squash.”
At Brookside Garden Centre in Tonbrdge, Kent, Simon Shead said: “Sales over the May Day weekend broke all previous records. We are 76 per cent up on last year. Easter was good for furniture and barbecues, but May Day was all about plants.”
South coast chain Haskins reported “tremendous” demand. Haskins’ Philip Evason said herbaceous plants, roses and climbers were being snapped up. Sales of hanging baskets and outdoor containers jumped by 35 per cent.
Editor of trade magazine Garden Retail, Matthew Appleby, said: “Garden centres broke records last month. They had a dream combination of four bank holidays plus warm, dry weather following a cold winter that killed lots of plants which now need replacing.
“Garden retailers have seen saes rise by up to 80 per cent because more Brits are staying at home rather than heading on holiday, due to the economy,” Matthew added.
The news will bring cheer to garden retailers. Last month, a report by market analysts Plimsoll Publishing claimed that a third of the UK’s garden centres were making a loss.