Published on 26 - April - 2012
Garden Centre sales weather the drought warningsIn a recent DIYWeek.net poll, 74% of respondents said they thought the hosepipe ban would negatively impact garden centre trade, but according to the latest results from the Garden Centre Association, like-for-like sales were up 11.5% during March.
The GCA's Barometer of Trade results showed no negative impact as a result of the impending ban
The sunnier weather meant any negative impact from the country's drought warnings was discounted, with many members reporting more than 15% year-on-year growth for the month.
GCA chairman Phil Slinger said: "Many expected it to be a difficult month for outdoor plant sales, with an industry-wide expectation that people may decide not to purchase new plants during the month due to the threat of imposing hosepipe bans in many regions. However, outdoor plant sales were up by 10%.
"The favourable weather in March brought some welcome sunshine, as well as some great sales figures for GCA members. The change in weather during Easter may prove to negate the early gains of March so it will be interesting to see what the Barometer of Trade figures show for April."
Catering sales were up by 16.7%, hard landscaping up 15.4% and houseplants up 19.2% as compared to March 2011.
The Barometer of Trade (BoT) reports produced by the GCA allow member garden centres to compare their trading positions with other GCA garden centres.
Mr Slinger continued: "In 2011, April was the best sales month for garden centres. Glorious weather coincided with Mother's Day, Easter and the Royal Wedding. This April's cooler weather means comparisons with last year are likely to be unfavourable.
"However, there are a number of events in the coming months that are expected to prompt spending. With the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics coming up, and member garden centres holding themed promotions, it is likely sales will go up again."
The GCA represents nearly 200 garden centres nationwide.
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