April showers affect core garden centre sales

Poor weather in April affected sales in core categories at garden centres across the country according to the latest Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) report.

Sales in outdoor plants were down -15.21%, houseplant sales were down -17.16% and seed and bulb sales were also down -14.99% compared to the same month in 2021.

GCA chief executive, Iain Wylie explains: “We have had a bit of a wet start to the year weather-wise, which has led to the season being slightly delayed, which is why we believe we have seen sales in core categories being affected.

“We hope the last of the bad weather is behind us as May has definitely seen some improvement, possibly proving there is some truth in the age old saying ‘April showers bring May flowers.’”

The category with the biggest drop in sales was hard landscaping, which was down -32.67% compared to the same month in the previous year (2021).

Iain adds: “During the 2020 lockdown and continuing into the spring/early summer of 2021, many garden projects were completed while people were staying at home. Some of these were brought forward, which means there is currently less to do this and next year in the garden and with restrictions being lifted, people are out and about more than they have been in the last two years, hence the bigger decrease in sales.”

Sales in garden sundries were down -20.83%, furniture and barbecue sales were down -22.62% and food hall and farm shop sales were down -14.51%. Gift sales were down -7.49%, pets and aquatic sales were -10.21% down and clothing sales were up at 12.73%. Catering sales were up 372.28%.

Iain continus: “It is difficult to compare catering sales in 2022 to 2021 and 2020 and we would need to look at sales from 2019 to get any meaningful comparison, however, the way many centres operate now is very different to 2019. Lower footfall but a greater spend/transaction value is a common thread from our member garden centres in relation to catering.”

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