Catering returns to top spot in December trade report

Catering saw a significant boost during December, according to the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) report published this month. Sales were up 182.55% compared to the same month the previous year (2020).

GCA chief executive, Iain Wylie explains: “Catering departments in garden centres across the country looked quite different in December 2021 than they did in 2020. In 2020, many were still either closed or socially distanced and it is not surprising that figures are much higher for 2021 as some rules relaxed slightly and although still cautious, more people were enjoying eating out again.

“Many centres offered Christmas lunches as well as breakfast and teas with Santa and it was great to see things opening up more and events being able to take place. It looks like garden centres customers certainly enjoyed eating out at our member centres in the run up to the big day!”

Seed and bulb sales were also up 37.37% in December 2021. Iain adds: “Positive seed and bulb sales are not unexpected towards the end of the year, as gardeners prepare for the season ahead and we’re looking forward to welcoming and supporting everyone taking up or continuing with some form of gardening this year.

“Christmas sales during the month were up 13.09%, gift sales were up 17.22% and clothing was up 24.1%. Other good sellers included houseplants at 4.9% up, outdoor plants 12.83% up and pets and aquatics sales, which were up 21.51%.

“Furniture and barbecues topping figures compared to the same month in 2020, were down -2.54%. Garden sundries sales were up 1.75%, hard landscaping up 2.08% and food hall and farm shop sales were also up 10.07%.

“Overall sales in December were up for the month by 24.81% compared to December 2020, although some of this increase this will be due to restrictions in place last year, affecting catering, generally and centres in Scotland and Wales, in particular.”

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