UK garden centres reported a 61% surge in sales of outdoor plant last month, helped by the milder weather this spring, with garden sundries and sales of seeds and bulbs also showing increases.
The positive start to 2019 continued into February as garden centres across the country saw increases in core gardening categories compared to the same period last year, according to the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) report.
Sales in garden sundries were up 30%, seed and bulb sales were up 25% and furniture and barbecue sales were up an impressive 34% on last year.
GCA chief executive Iain Wylie said: “This year’s sales figures just prove what a difference the weather can make. In February 2018 we were greeted by the Beast from the East followed by an early Easter washout, which made for a very miserable start to the year, however this year the weather has been much milder, with only a dusting of snow very early on in the month.
“Gardeners have been able to get on with readying their plots for the season. They’ve also been working on hard landscaping as sales are up 59% compared to last year.”
Meanwhile, Christmas sales were also up almost 55% during February, whilst houseplant sales were up 17%.
Mr Wylie added: “So far we have had a very positive start to the year, and long may it continue. Both retailers and suppliers will be mindful of the big figures that came last year when the weather improved in May. Those figures will be difficult to beat.”
GCA members also reported an uplift of nearly 4% in pets and aquatics, and in other non-core gardening categories, gift sales were up just over 2% and catering sales were up 13%. Clothing sales were up almost 6% and food hall and farm shop sales were up 3%.
Overall sales for the month were up nearly 20%, with a year-to-date change of 14%.
The GCA BoT reports are compiled using actual sales figures and provide an up-to-date trading position statement. They are made available mid-month following the end of the prior month after all member garden centres have submitted their results, allowing members to compare their trading positions with other centres.