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Traditional and non-traditional categories start 2020 positively

Sales across traditional and non-traditional categories at garden centres across the country were up during January according to the GCA Barometer of Trade report.

Houseplant sales were up 33.01% and outdoor plant sales were up 14.69%, while clothing departments saw an increase in sales of 15.99% and catering sales were 11.28% up compared to the same month the previous year (2019).

Iain Wylie, GCA Chief Executive explained: “It is great to see such a positive start to the year with sales up in the majority of traditional and non-traditional categories. The only category that saw a drop in sales was furniture and barbecues at -17.2%, which is understandable at this time of year and any increases or decreases in this category have a negligible effect on the overall figures, given the volume of outdoor leisure sales in January.

“It certainly wasn’t barbecue weather, but we did have an unusually mild start to the year weather-wise, which meant garden centre customers were able to spend more time outdoors preparing their beds and plots for the coming season.

“Seed and bulb sales were up 4.43%, sales in garden sundries were up 11.6% and pets and aquatics sales were also up at 3.73%. Gift sales were up 9.98%, Christmas sales saw an increase of 2.43% as customers stocked up on items for the 2020 festive season, hard landscaping sales rose 22.13% and food hall and farm shop sales were also up 10.09%.”

Overall sales for the month were up 7.69% with a year to date change of 7.69%.

Hannah Powell, Communications and HR Director at Perrywood Garden Centre, which has centres at Tiptree in Colchester and Sudbury in Suffolk, said: “Our houseplants sales are up 42% and outdoor plants up 18%. After Christmas we saw fantastic sales of houseplants, aided by ongoing Instagram activity, students returning to university and homeowners replacing Christmas decorations.

“Best sellers have been basic houseplants such as Peace Lily, Spider Plants and Parlour Palms. Whilst unusual houseplants dominate Instagram and do see sales, the bulk of sales is still in easy to care for basics. The age of houseplant buyers is younger than those that are shopping in other departments, and we hope to translate some of their interest into growing outdoor plants when we move into the spring season. Our coffee shop and restaurant sales were up 7%, on the back of continued growth in 2019.

“Last January (2019) we had not yet refurbished our coffee shop at our Sudbury centre and were still working on improvements following the purchase of the centre just four months previously, however, this January, we have doubled turnover.

“We have tripled coffee shop and houseplant sales and doubled sales in outdoor plants and seeds and bulbs. The centre is proving to be a very strong ‘gardener’s garden centre’, and with a new bedding plant canopy opening in March we are feeling very optimistic about 2020.

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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