GARDEN centres saw seed and bulb sales soar by 23.44% in August compared to the same month last year according to the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) report.
Houseplant sales were also up at 15.03% and clothing was up 14.74%.
Iain Wylie, GCA Chief Executive, said: “It’s great to see that customers have been out in force at their local centres and are still enjoying their gardens, particularly by purchasing bulbs and seeds to plant out in readiness for a colourful display next spring.
“The strong houseplant sales indicate that people also want a little more colour and life in their homes. It is pleasing to see that the trend of increased interest in houseplants is continuing and customers are coming to garden centres to fulfill the increased demand.
“In a month where the weather was somewhat mixed across the country, outdoor plant sales were still up 3.19%.”
“We also saw strong sales in catering, which was up 9.73%. Food hall and farm shop sales were up 2.87%.”
Garden sundries sales were down -4.48% and furniture and barbecue sales down -15/08%. Sales in pets and aquatics were also down -1.14% and hard landscaping down -6.2%.
Kate Ford, Marketing Manager at Barton Grange Garden Centre, said: “Here in Lancashire, August was a mix of sunshine and showers and people were definitely still shopping for their gardens. We found that late summer perennials and grasses, in particular, sold really well during August.”
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.
Michael MacAulay, Retail Team Leader at Simpsons Garden Centre, said: “We’ve had a really big focus on spring bulbs to encourage customers to get planting. Our biggest sellers have yet again been traditional bulbs such as narcissus, tulips and crocus, however we’ve also seen an increase in bulbs such as alliums.”
Member garden centre sales showed an average overall increase for the month of 1.98% and a Year to Date growth of 4.09%.
Gary Carvosso, Managing Director at Coolings Garden Centre, said: “Houseplants in August were 16% up and in September they are currently 73% up. Year to date the increase is 41%, driven by an increase of houseplant tables by 25%. We also moved away from almost entirely focusing on flowering to a larger selection of foliage plants and introduced a much better range of Cacti.
“Hardy plants had a 14% increase which was due to much cooler temperatures this year. August 2016 was actually too hot for gardening. Catering had another excellent month with an 18% increase.
“Overall so far 2017 is shaping up to be a great year for core gardening and catering yet again.”
The BoT reports allow members to compare their trading positions with other centres.
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.