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Hard landscaping remained top seller in October

Published: 1 December 2014
Garden centre customers were still getting out in their gardens in October according to the Garden Centre Association's (GCA) latest figures.
Hard landscaping remained top seller in October
September's strong sales of hard landscaping continued, 26% up, furniture and barbecues were 19% up and outdoor plants 15% up as compared to October 2013.

"The cooler weather certainly hasn't put gardeners off from getting out into their gardens," commented GCA chairman Will Armitage.

"We know that October is a great month to plant all sorts of things such as spring flowering bulbs, shrubs, evergreens and fruit trees. With many garden centres getting behind campaigns like the HTA's Plan it, Plant it this Autumn it seems to have helped make people aware of the opportunities to be had. This has almost certainly helped contribute to the strong outdoor plant figures seen by many of our members.

Other good performers during October were garden sundries, up 12%, houseplants, up 7%, Christmas, up 6%, and catering, up 5%.

Justin Williams, director at GCA member Fron Goch Garden Centre in Caernarfon, said: "We had an exceptional October, with good sales in all departments. Christmas was up 44% on last October and I think it's all down to getting the details right: fine tuning and learning from a mini Christmas study tour we did last year and opening our Christmas display at the right time, getting merchandising and displays right as well as the marketing.

"Catering was 11.6% up last month, which I think was down to us consistently delivering high standards of food and service, combined with developing three keys areas, breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, filling those covers all day long if possible."

Meanwhile, The Gardens Group, which has centres in Sherborne and Poundbury in Dorset and in Yeovil, Somerset, has seen a strong month for core gardening products. Managing director Mike Burks said: "Despite the wet, October was a strong month for sales of core gardening, especially winter bedding, bulbs, herbaceous, shrubs and trees. Fruit also did well."

In Northern Ireland, the main growth at Creative Gardens' two centres came from strong early Christmas sales, outdoor plants, up by 13%, fruit and veg and houseplants sales, up by 51% and 67% and some good late barbecue sales.

Said finance and marketing director Philip Gass: "The biggest financial increase came from good café and food sales, which were up by 10.8%. Generally the weather has been kind to us in Northern Ireland, reasonably mild and not too much rain, which always works in our favour."

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