Hot weather helps sales bloom for garden centres in May

Garden centres across the country saw a boost in May sales thanks to the good weather and two Bank Holidays according to the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) report.

After a rollercoaster April, outdoor plant sales rose by 27.93% in May compared to the same month last year. Furniture and barbecue sales were up 31.32% and seeds and bulbs sales were up 26.37%.

Iain Wylie, GCA Chief Executive, said: “Garden centre owners and suppliers had their fingers well and truly crossed towards the end of April for some good weather and it certainly paid off as May approached and we were treated to some of the hottest temperatures during the month for a century, as well as two Bank Holiday breaks, which allowed people to get back out into their gardens.

“The superb sales are definitely our reward for a disappointing start to the year. We just hope the good weather will continue into June as many gardeners will now be playing catch-up.”

Houseplants sales were up 17%, garden sundries were up 17.69% and pets and aquatics sales were -1.47%. Hard landscaping sales were up 13.54%.

Sales in non-traditional categories such as gifts were up 1.17%, food hall and farm shop up 7.62% and clothing up 16.76%.

Iain added: “Overall sales for the month were up 19.01% and while the year to date change is down -2.66%, it is still considerably better than the figure we saw in April.”

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.

Mike Burks, Managing Director of The Gardens Group, said: “It has felt like a good old-fashioned spring, with an accentuated peak in May, and our garden centres have certainly felt the benefit catching up on what was lost earlier in the season.

“All departments were busy throughout the whole month, as well as the two Bank Holidays, with the hardy and bedding plants departments leading the way. Good weather certainly inspires people to get outside and encourages those less experienced to get into the garden, which is great news for us.

“Of course we are usually at full stretch in May anyway, so this peak put huge pressure on our systems, staff and suppliers, but everyone came together and pulled out the stops, which is a testament to the people we work with. We have an ethos of building long term internal and external relationships throughout the business and the support shown by our suppliers really demonstrated the importance of this, which is very much appreciated. June has started very positively compared to a very poor start in June 2017.”

The BoT reports allow members to compare their trading positions with other centres.

Martin Breddy, Managing Director at Squire’s Garden Centres, said: “We enjoyed a record May and our highest ever sales month, in both our garden centres and our total business. The Bank Holidays were especially strong due to the excellent weather and our promotional plans.”

The GCA represents nearly 200 garden centres nationwide.

For further information, please call 01244 952170. Alternatively, please visit www.gca.org.uk, log on to www.facebook.com/pages/GardenCentreAssociation or follow the organisation on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GC_Association.

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