GCA’s April barometer figures show “encouraging” sales increase

The Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) figures for April 2023 have revealed food hall/farm shop and catering continued to perform well while other categories also saw encouraging increases too.

Across GCA member garden centres, the BoT recorded that catering sales were up 21.6% when compared to April 2022 and food hall/farm shop sales remained good at 9.1%.

Also doing well in April were seed & bulb sales, which were up by 20%, while outdoor plants showed a 10.4% uplift. Houseplants were up at 7.7% and clothing at 8.2%.

GCA CEO Peter Burks, said: “In fact, 10 of our 13 categories recorded improvements with just three showing negative results. Understandably, given the weather, the furniture & BBQ category took the biggest hit and was down by 33.3%.

“It was great though to see a small increase in sales for the middle month of our peak season. This is very encouraging and all the members I have spoken to recently remain very positive and upbeat. However, considering retail price inflation, it means volumes are still a bit below last year.

“Generally, the trends are as they have been all year, with catering and food doing well, which is good news. It means we’re still seeing plenty of visitors who want to support their local, independent garden centre. However, the unsettled start to our spring, thanks to the poor weather, has meant gardening has suffered.

“As a gardener myself, I know it’s been hard to find days when the weather has been good enough to get outside and get the essential jobs done. The chillier, unsettled weather has also meant furniture sales are still to get going. No one really had the option of sitting or entertaining outside much during April, even over the long Easter weekend.”

The April BoT figures also revealed garden sundries were down 3.1%. However, pet and aquatic sales were up 3.1% and gifts also saw an uplift of 2.5%.

Overall sales for the month were up 0.8% with a year-to-date variance of -6.7%.

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.

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