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Barbecues and furniture boost garden centres' April

Published: 27 May 2015
Barbecues and furniture were the big winners at garden centres across the country during April.
Barbecues and furniture boost garden centres' April
According to the latest figures from the Garden Centre Association (GCA) sales within the two categories were 27% up on the same time last year.

Said GCA chief executive Iain Wylie: "The Easter holidays at the beginning of the month had the potential to boost sales, as families had the time and opportunity to spend their time browsing at garden centres.

"The weather was not as kind as we would have wished on the first two days of the Easter weekend, and of course centres were closed on Easter Sunday, but the fantastic weather on the Monday seemed to make up for any shortfall in earlier footfall and spending."

During the month sales of outdoor plants were up 12%, sales in pet and aquatics departments rose by 7% and catering sales increased by 10%.

Lucy Nixon, director at GCA member Thetford Garden Centre in Norfolk, said: "April saw a large increase in our coffee shop sales, predominantly due to a higher average spend achieved through additions of tempting lunchtime specials."

At Blackbrooks Garden Centre near Hastings, East Sussex, managing director Mark Winchester commented: "I'm happy to report that my April sales were positive and our footfall was up 5%. Most categories reported positive sales growth.

"The biggest category increase by far was garden furniture, which was up by 56%. Landscaping, garden sundries and giftware all reported more than 20% increases. Clothing and catering were up 17%.

"Plant sales were looking strong for most of the month but fell sharply towards the end due to cold weather, finishing at 5% up. Overall we finished the month a healthy 18% up on last year. Let's keep our fingers crossed for May."

GCA members also found that clothing sales remained up for a second consecutive month, at 18%, and Monkton Elm Garden & Pet Centre in Somerset was typical in finding trade buoyant.

Said deputy shop manager Christine Pimm: "We've seen good sales in our clothing department during April. The improved weather at the beginning of the month saw our customers stocking up on summer clothing and shoes a little earlier than usual.

"We have also recently streamlined our clothing stock and been more selective with the brands we sell. We have kept to a core range, which has proved to be a hit with the customers."

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