Sales in outdoor plant areas at garden centres across the country performed better than other categories in October according to the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) report.
Compared to last year (2017) sales of outdoor plants were up 11.93%. Houseplants sales followed close behind at 11.21% up.
GCA chief executive, Iain Wylie said: “For the past two months sales in houseplants departments have been coming out on top, but during October outdoor plants have just pipped them to the post. The milder autumn weather was the catalyst to allow people to keep gardening.
“Autumn/winter is most often associated with trees turning to soft coppers and burnished golds, yet there are flowering autumnal plants that take their colour into winter long after the trees have been laid bare – winter pansies, hebes, outdoor cyclamen and primulas give splashes of many hues. There are also several compact container shrubs that give added value with their bright berries and heathers, evergreens and ivy are also very popular at this time of year.”
Seed and bulb sales were up 9.57% and garden sundries were also up 6.65%.
Sales were also up in furniture and barbecue departments at 4.82% and gift sales were up 1.45%.
Mr Wylie continued: “Hard landscaping sales were up 17.21%, pets and aquatic sales were down -0.13%, food hall and farm shop sales were up 5.24%. Clothing was up 3.26% and catering was up 6.88%.
“The increase in plant sales was at the expense of early Christmas sales, which should come as no surprise. Nonetheless, sales in Christmas departments were down only marginally by -0.59%, however there is still the opportunity to catch up and forge ahead when it turns colder as we approach late November and December.”
Overall sales for the month were up 5.31% with a year to date change of 2.18%.
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.