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Non-traditional sales rise

Sales in non-traditional categories at garden centres increased during June but due to wet weather traditional categories were down, according to the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) report.

Outdoor plant sales were down -4.70 percent and sales of houseplants were down -1.33 percent while clothing was up 18.01 percent and catering was up 10.65 percent.

Iain Wylie, GCA chief executive, explained: “June’s BoT figures are a bit of a contrast to what we saw in May. Due to the May Bank Holidays we saw super sales in more traditional categories but June was a bit of a washout with lots of wet weather, leading to sales being down in the traditional categories.

“Garden Sundries were down -4.11 percent and furniture and barbecue sales were at -8.13 percent while seed and bulb sales were up slightly at 0.07 percent. Sales in pets and aquatics departments were down -1.37 percent.

“At times like this, when we can’t rely on the Great British weather, we can rely on the fact that many garden centre’s are now destinations with restaurants, cafes and even farm shops and people don’t visit them just for the plants anymore. This is proved in the rise in sales in non-traditional categories. Food hall and farm shop sales were up 4.32 percent and gifts were up 0.31 percent.”

Sales showed a year-to-date increase of 3.85 percent and June’s overall monthly sales, compared to the same month last year were -1.47 percent down.

Justin Williams, managing director at Fron Goch Garden Centre in Wales, which saw good sales in its restaurant in June, said: “June, in which many core gardening lines struggled against last year’s figures, saw the restaurant hold its monthly average increase on last year of 20 percent. Last summer, in the restaurant, we invested in a re-fit and increased the number of covers to 200, which has delivered 20 percent growth since September 1, 2015.”

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