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Barbecues remain hot stuff throughout May

Published: 19 June 2014

The warm weather upheld strong sales of barbecues and garden furniture in May, according to the Garden Centre Association (GCA).

Barbecues remain hot stuff throughout May

They were up 23.4% over May 2013, compounding the 51% year-on-year leap in April.

Said Will Armitage, GCA chairman: "Overall, our member garden centres had a good May, busier than anticipated, with the weather playing a vital part in their successes. All categories were up on the year to date, which is also very encouraging.

"As well as furniture and barbecues, the other categories that saw significant increases during the month were hard landscaping, which was up by 11.12%, pets and aquatics up by 7.79%, clothing up by 7.89%, gifts by 7.02% and catering by 5.64%."

At Creative Gardens in County Down and County Antrim, May barbecue sales at the Bushmills centre leapt by 350% on May 2013.

Philip Gass, finance & marketing director, said: "We've had a good year for furniture and barbecues generally, and as usual it's probably down to a combination of factors.

"The weather has been good most of this year - we haven't had the snow or bad weather in Northern Ireland that we got last year, and May was particularly good with generally mild and dry weather, possibly meaning people getting more use of their outdoor space and more willing to invest in new furniture or an upgraded barbecue.

"We've made a conscious effort this year to select ranges that are harder to compare online and differ from our local competitors, and where we've found the comparable models we've been able to compete by adding value in the form of a loyalty points bonus or including things like gas cans or covers.

"We've given more space to outdoor living this year, which has certainly helped sales."

At West Country garden centres Trelawney@Wadebridge and Trelawney@Ashford, sales of furniture and barbecues were well up on last year, and better even than in the last three years.

General manager Peter Burks said: "I think the good summer last year is still helping, as well as the good weather now. This trend has continued well into June, with the current hot spell seeing massive increases in barbecue sales."

Some garden centres also report that this year they have geared up for better sales and that putting greater effort into their barbecue sections has paid off.

Managing director of Whitehall Garden Centre near Chippenham, Wiltshire, Peter Self, explained: "Our sales increases are due to a number of things: having a dedicated Weber concept area, a large range of associated accessories and dedicated staffing at peak periods. We also held a Weber cookery demo evening in May that stimulated a great deal of interest and encouraged further sales.

"Additionally, we've added Jamie Oliver and Landsman barbecues to our range for the 2014 season as promotional lines and these are proving popular too."
 

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