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Traditional garden centre category sales soar thanks to hottest July on record


Hot weather in July sent traditional garden centre category sales soaring according to the Garden Centre Association’s Barometer of Trade report for the month.


Seed and bulb sales were up 50.94%, outdoor plant sales were up 24.02% and sales in houseplants were up 19.7%.


Iain Wylie, GCA Chief Executive, said: “It is fantastic to see such a huge rise in sales in traditional categories compared to the same month last year (2018).


“After we saw so much rain in June, we weren’t holding out much hope of an improvement, but thankfully we were not disappointed as July turned out to be one of the hottest month’s on record ever, which meant big business for our garden centres as customers flocked to them for everything they needed for their plots.


“Temperatures just kept on rising too, so much so, that we officially experienced a heat wave in the last week of the month, with temperatures reaching 30 degrees Celsius and above in many places.


“While we have sales in non-traditional categories to fall back on if the weather isn’t so good, it’s always great to see traditional ones doing well. It looks like it may have been a tad too hot to be cooking burgers on the barbecue this time around however, as sales in furniture and barbecues were down -8.02%.”


Sales in garden sundries were up 13.38%, pets and aquatics sales were up 7.49% and gift sales were up 7.75%.


Hard landscaping sales were up 11.73% and food hall and farm shop sales were up 4.83%.


Clothing sales were up 21.67% and catering sales were up 12.03%.


Overall sales for the month were up 10.77% with a year to date change of 6.61%.


Gary Carvosso, Managing Director at Coolings Garden Centre, said: “We had a very good month at all our sites, however at our head office in Knockholt the real winners were plants. Despite the record heat, the monthly rainfall was average, keeping people planting.


“The intense heat was short lived which resulted in outdoor plants sales 20% up on a hot July in 2018, house plants were even better at 35%. Keeping fresh looking plant stock is a must and across several acres this is a challenge in the heat, thankfully our teams are hugely experienced in plant care.”


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.


Joe Aldworth, Marketing Manager at The Old Railway Line Garden Centre, said: “The weather helped mask some of the Brexit uncertainty in July with very strong sales for us. Overall the garden centre was up 15.7% and restaurant up 22.8%.


“People were clearly enjoying their gardens resulting in outdoor plant sales being up a massive 38.7%, sundries up 25.6% and seeds up 30.6%. Our ‘Family Fun Zone’, a variety of events and the good weather was a perfect mix to drive increased footfall throughout the summer. Most other departments also experienced strong sales growth, including houseplants up 44.3%, gifts up 26.1% and homeware up 14.0%.”


The BoT reports allow members to compare their trading positions with other centres.

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