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Garden centre clothing and food soar in September

Published: 14 October 2015
Garden centres saw good sales in their clothing departments and food hall/farm shops during September, according to the latest Garden Centre Association (GCA) figures.
Garden centre clothing and food soar in September
Clothing was up 30% on the same month in 2014 while food hall/farm shop sales rose by 15%.

"The weather during September gave gardeners great conditions for beginning their autumn planning and planting," explained GCA chief executive Iain Wylie. "Sales in clothing were up during the month, so it would seem customers were not only preparing their gardens for the changing season but were preparing themselves too by stocking up on wellies and waterproofs.

"It was only back in July that clothing and food hall/farm shops were on the rise, and it's interesting to see this repeat for September. With the onset of autumn many food halls and farm shops changed their seasonal produce so had something new and tasty for customers to pick up and try."

Other notable year-on-year category rises were catering, up 8%; Christmas, 9%; gifts, 5%; pets and aquatics, 5%; and furniture and barbecues and houseplants, 10%.

Overall garden centre performance in September was up by just 2% on last September.

Paul Gingell, managing director at GCA member Burford Garden Company in Oxfordshire, said: "On the back of the boost to plant sales throughout the month we have also seen excellent growth in both clothing sales and café and food hall sales.

"Aside from the boost a new season always gives us, clothing sales growth has come on the back of our focus on natural fibres in our ranges, creative merchandising in collections and dedicated staffing to maximise sales opportunities.

"Both our café and food hall have surged ahead of last year's sales performance, with significant growth coming from luxury grab 'n' go meals to eat in or take home.

"Our insistence on cooking from scratch every day, using only local produce and ingredients, gives us a great advantage over many chain-based competitors," he added.

In Powys, The Old Railway Line Garden Centre manager Katie Eckley said that plants and outdoor living had suffered, "but catering, clothing, garden sundries and food hall pulled it back for us.

"We have just re-fitted our food hall ready for what will hopefully be a good Christmas season. For the month of September it was up 4.4%. Clothing showed very strong sales and was over 54% up. As a result of these sales we have added more lines for the autumn.

"The restaurant and coffee shop have had a great month, with the restaurant 7% up and the coffee shop 78% up. We have just re-decorated our original coffee shop to give a new lease of life and this seems to have attracted more customers."


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