Furniture and barbecue sales at GCA garden centres soared in the July heatwave, according to the association’s latest Barometer of Trade figures – but at the expense of sales of plants and sundries.
Compared to l2017, sales across both categories were 22.21% up, while outdoor plant sales fell by 10.33% and seeds and bulbs by 18.83%.
GCA chief executive Iain Wylie said that after a cold start to the season and slowly improving sales through April and May, the picture had begun to look better in June before the heatwave arrived.
“It looks like garden centre customers embraced the hot weather by spending time in their gardens and cooking up food on the barbecue. Hh
owever it was much too hot for any gardening to be done, which meant sales in outdoor plants and seeds and bulbs went down.
"Houseplant sales picked up slightly at 7.22% and garden sundries sales were up 2.33%."
Sales in pets and aquatics departments were also down -9.17% and hard landscaping was down -9.38%. Food hall and farm shop sales were down -0.73%, clothing was up 0.88% and catering was down -2.89%.
Overall sales for the month were down -1.07% with a year to date change of 0.85%.
Sharon McNair, commercial director at Tong Garden Centre, said: "Leisure sales in July saw a 31% increase on July 2017 and barbeques were 68% ahead of like-for- like sales last year. The prolonged good weather and a positive vibe created by England doing so well in the World Cup has really helped sales.
"With such a great long-term forecast, customers were confident that the summer would be good and were keen to enjoy being outdoors, making the most of their outside space - especially after such a long winter and poor summer last year!"
The GCA BoT reports are compiled using actual sales figures and provide an up-to-date trading position statement.
Chris Leslie, MD at Busy Bee Garden Centre, which recently joined the GCA, said: "The sunshine certainly stimulated our July sales, which exceeded the previous month and were 25% up on July last year (2017)."