Sales of BBQ and furniture top BoT for fourth month running

The Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) reveals furniture and BBQ sales continued to remain strong and were up by 58.27% year-to-date according to its recently released figures for September.

Proving demand didn’t slow during the month, the report shows a year-to-date increase in 12 out of 13 categories.

GCA chief executive, Iain Wylie explains: “Our members’ September figures remained consistent. Once again, BBQ and furniture sales topped our BoT report. Normally at this time of year we’d be packing up our outdoor spaces and preparing for cosy entertaining indoors, but the late Indian Summer allowed people to continue enjoying their outdoor living spaces.

“We’ve embraced alfresco living as a nation, post-lockdowns, and even if there is a chill in the air and it’s dark, dining is now accompanied with twinkling lights, throws and firepits. Social occasions outdoors with friends and family no longer seem unusual. Of course, demand for staycations has also continued to be a contributing factor for boosting the need for outdoor accoutrements, whether for homes or holiday lets.

“Catering also remains steady despite continuing to face some difficulties. We’re confident our members’ cafés and restaurants will once again become social hubs of their garden centres this autumn, as visitors opt for warming beverages and a bite to eat while shopping and enjoying being amongst the greenery.”

The year-to-date figure for catering is up at 3.1%, although this still needs to be tempered against last year’s events.

Iain adds: “As the nation’s gardeners prepared for autumn planting in September, outdoor plants remained favourites with sales up 42.54% year-to-date. Similarly, houseplants were also up at 40.36%. This demand may be due in part to the impact of the first autumn-based Chelsea Flower Show in September, where experts showcased ideas that can be implemented regardless of the size of space available. The buzz around the event encouraged novice gardeners to help keep up the hobby and has also helped reinvigorate those who have been gardening for years.

“As the nights grew darker earlier and the leaves started to change outside, September was also the perfect time of year for bringing some much-needed greenery and colour indoors using houseplants. They’re great accessories and provide a dose of Vitamin G – ideal for boosting mental health and wellbeing.”

The remaining categories that performed well, year-to-date, in September were gift sales up 37.56%, clothing up 33.91%, food hall/farm shop up 32.37%, hard landscaping up 32.03%, garden sundries up 27.24%, pets and aquatics up 23.93%, as well as seeds and bulbs up 11.4%.

Iain continues: “We’re thrilled that this month’s figures have remained steady. Many members started October by unveiling their festive displays to meet demand and we’re anticipating a buoyant Christmas sales period.”

Overall sales in September were down for the month by -0.29% when comparing 2020 with 2021.

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