CUSTOMERS at garden centres across the country boosted their spirits by buying houseplants during October (2020) according to the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade report.
Compared with the same month in 2019, sales were up 48.2%.
Iain Wylie, GCA Chief Executive explained: “Our mental health and wellbeing has become an even bigger topic this year and it’s become incredibly clear that gardening and having foliage and houseplants around the home, can really lift our moods, which is why there’s no surprise that houseplants have come out on top as the bestsellers during October.
“As another lockdown across England was announced at the end of October and people were predicting this before the end of the month, it was likely people were stocking up on houseplants during the month to brighten up their homes and to have something to tend to during their additional spare time. With more people working from home now too, houseplants are a great way to spruce up a boring workspace and can help purify the air in addition to adding freshness and life to a room.
“Houseplants are also being featured in more and more lifestyle magazines as desirable household accessories. It’s now very trendy to have a cactus or a succulent and to have cyclamen on your table for Christmas and as part of your festive décor.”
Other good sellers during the month were garden sundries up 41.46%, furniture and barbecues up 34.79% and sales of outdoor plants, which were up 34.53%.
Sales in seeds and bulbs were up 9.12%, pets and aquatics up 6.88% and hard landscaping up 35.33%.
Gift sales were up 15.82% and Christmas sales were also up 26.74%.
Food hall and farm shop sales were up 27.29%, clothing was down -9.28% and catering was also down -19.26%.
Iain added: “Clothing sales have been most affected by the pandemic as many concessions have been closed throughout the majority of the year.
“As expected, catering sales were also down across the nation. This is due to reduced capacity to allow for social distancing in centres that were open across England, tiered restrictions in Scotland, the closure of centres during the firebreaker lockdown that took place in Wales and the centres that were closed in Northern Ireland for half of the month.”
Overall sales for the month were up 13.16%, which includes catering and restaurant sales, with a year to date change of -11.09%. Retail only figures for the month were up 24.2%.
Martin Cowell, Director at Cowell’s Garden Centre in Newcastle upon Tyne, said: “Houseplants have been a particularly strong category for Cowell’s throughout 2020 and this continued with fantastic sales during October.
“We have ensured sufficient space is allocated to the department, our team continually create inspirational in-store displays and our buyers work hard to offer a range that appeals to both houseplant experts and newcomers.
“Outdoor plants and core gardening products also continue to perform strongly, and we are seeing an earlier interest in Christmas products than we would traditionally expect.
“I can certainly see the continued desire from customers to grow and care for plants, both in the home and garden and attribute this to a wider understanding of the mental health benefits. We have supported this by incorporating positive quotes regarding plants into our social media and in-store signage and we will continue to talk to our customers about the benefits of plants.”
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.
The BoT reports allow members to compare their trading positions with other centres.
The GCA represents nearly 200 garden centres nationwide.
Through sharing information and its inspection programme the GCA helps members to achieve high standards in customer service, plant quality and reliability.
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.