Published on 11 - April - 2012
GC Easter trade sees Good Friday sales washed out by MondayIt was a mixed report of trading for garden centres across the country following the long-anticipated Easter Bank Holiday weekend, with many seeing an initial bright start on Friday, followed by poor footfall during Monday's rainy weather.
Poor weather meant that for many, sales compared unfavourably with last year's Easter Bank Holiday
Scott Robertson, manager of Sussex County Gardener told DIY Week: "Our Easter was not too good because of the weather. Last year garden centres did very well, we had a brilliant start to the season so it was always going to be a lot to live up to in terms of like for likes. This year sales didn't deliver because of the bad weather on Bank Holiday Monday."
The garden centre ran Easter egg hunts, which Mr Robertson said proved "very popular with the children" but did not do much to drum up sales.
He added: "The weekend before last was great because of the weather, but the Easter bank holiday was a bit of a washout."
It was the same story on Monday for Hampshire-based Abbey Garden Centre, which saw sales perform well on Good Friday and Easter Saturday, but drop with the temperature by Monday.
"We're not a destination garden centre," explained manager Jackie Fell. "Our customers come here for a purpose. We ran special offers and promotions on compost and pots over the weekend, these sold well with people looking for them but I don't think it did much to increase sales overall.
"For a Bank Holiday, Monday did not do as well as expected, because of the weather. Our outlook for the rest of the season is good. We've had good year-on-year performance and we're optimistic for the future."
Meanwhile, the mild winter and the recent sunshine helped boost Easter sales of summery plants at Greenscene Side Farm Nursery in Sheffield. "On the whole we did alright," owner Jean Sales told DIY Week.
"Our coffee shop really helped boost footfall over the weekend and our Italian stock of continental plants has really sold well. Two years ago we had a really bad winter and so, come spring, they didn't sell so well but, since we've had a kind winter, people are stocking up on the big palms and cordyline plants for summer."
The business didn't run any special promotions or events over the Bank Holiday, and Ms Sales credited its strong performance to displays of "nice fresh stock", adding: "People can't afford to move house so they're spending more on what they've already got."
Greenscene has plans to extend its coffee shop and is optimistic about the rest of the season, with sales of shrubs and trees doing well.
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