New year catering sales

UK garden centres reported good catering sales during January, according to the Garden Centre Association?s monthly barometer of trade report.

According to the organization, catering, food hall and farm shop sales kick-started the year with an improvement of 16%. Clothing was also a good seller, also showing an improvement of just over 16%.

Iain Wylie, GCA Chief Executive, said: ?Our member garden centres were full of customers enjoying their food, whether in food halls, farm shops, or restaurants. It is good to see.

?As well as stopping off to buy produce and get a bite to eat, shoppers also picked up plenty of houseplants. This was best performing traditional category during the month, with sales up 11.?

?Furniture and barbecue sales were also up, at 8% compared to the same month last year.?

Julian Winfield, chief executive of Haskins garden centres and also the GCA?s new Chairman, said: ?Not that many years ago, garden centres were quiet after Christmas. But now thanks to our restaurants, our customers keep coming in even when the weather is not good.

?All the non-gardening departments have done reasonably well. Some discounted old ranges, but also in new products such as garden furniture. Those garden centres that quickly cleared up Christmas in early January look ready for spring sales.?

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