It was a record breaking Mother's Day weekend for garden centres - official! Over the course of yesterday and this morning GTN Xtra has been speaking to garden centres across the country and here is the feedback from: Green Pastures, Scotsdales, Caulders, Alton's, Millbrook, Haskins, Stewarts, Fron Goch, Raemoir, Bents, Hillview, Baytree, Cowells, Fresh @ Burcot, Perrywood, Creative Gardens, Klondyke, Waresley Park and Barton Grange.
James Debbage, Green Pastures, Norwich told GTN Xtra yesterday: “It's proving to be a fantastic weekend (at least for March) by the way. We smashed our daily sales record in the restaurant yesterday and today's shaping up to be fantastic in there too.”
Caroline Owen, Scotsdales, Cambridge said: “Yes a very busy weekend certainly 100%+ up on Mother’s Day weekend last year and very positive comparing Easter Saturday with yesterday.
“Mother’s day trading is always better when the day falls later in the year last year I think it was nearly the earliest and this year nearly the latest in 2019 the day falls on 31st March which I believe is the latest.
“The weather has really helped and this is key and sales are excellent across the whole garden centre plant sales particularly.
“Our restaurant is very busy but we don’t book tables.
“I just would like to be able to open longer on Sundays and as such for Scotsdales Bank Holiday Mondays will always be our busiest days but that of course is a bigger issue.”
Caroline later added “Just to let you know that today (Mother’s Day) has been our best day revenue wise for our Sunflower Restaurant.”
Colin Barrie, Caulders Garden Centres in Scotland: “The sun shone with us yesterday (Saturday) and our figures took a sharp increase! Plant sales this weekend have been excellent, with this weekend really being the first decent one this year for plants and core gardening.
“Our restaurants have been packed full for Mother’s Day - again, the busiest day since last summer.
“Long may it continue!!”
Andy Bunker, Alton Garden Centre, Wickford, Essex: “We had a very good Saturday considering last year it was Easter Saturday. Plant dept. up 34% on the day compared to 2016, whole centre plus 10% on same day.
“Our restaurant was plus 28% vs Mother’s Day Saturday 2016.
“You cannot compare exact like for like because of course we were closed on Easter Sunday, but again all those worrying about Brexit yet again forget it. Weather, weather, weather.
“Although we did not get the supposed heat wave quite a nice 14/15 degrees. To add in March is a whopping 20% up to date.”
Tam Woodhouse, Millbrook Garden Centres, Kent reports: “It was certainly a record breaking Mother’s Day Saturday. A bit quieter on Sunday but still amazing. We were up against Easter weekend last year and the Saturday was 43% up on last year.
“We were seeing sales across every department. Brilliant plant sales, great gift sales. The cafes were really busy – we ran an afternoon tea offer with free prosecco for Mum yesterday (Sunday) and that was great – it is the first year we have offered something like that so we see this area growing.
“We also ran a Mum and child create a fairy garden workshop on Saturday that was really successful at all 3 centres. It has been a great start to the season, fingers crossed that it continues!”
Conna Powles, Haskins Garden Centres in the South of England told GTN Xtra: “The sun shone and the customers reacted. We had great sales in the restaurants being 2% up on last year with Roundstone taking a record breaking £16k!
“Overall for the centre, with restaurants included, the week was +34%, the weekend +40% and Mothering Sunday itself was up a whopping 33%.
“Plants were the winning gift with over 3000 gift wraps (+38% on last year) on houseplants, garden plants and planted containers.
“We always create a Mother’s Day shop and set up gift wrap stations but I think this year the staff did the most amazing job they have ever done.”
Martin Stewart, Stewarts Garden Centres, South of England reported: “The weekend being 3 weeks later has seen it coincide with the start of spring, although the clocks going forward gave us a slower start to the Sunday. A later Mothering Sunday benefits Outdoor Plants, an early one helps Houseplants.
“Over the two days Christchurch was up 18% and Broomhill an amazing 64%.
“Christchurch Outdoor Plants were up 95% and Broomhill 113%. In our game watching a strong plant sales weekend is the most satisfying sight we can witness.
“Coffee Shops, Gifts and House Plants were marginally up in comparison, but overall the weekend growth belonged to Outdoor Plants.”
Justin Williams, Fron Goch, Caernarfon, North Wales said: “It was an excellent weekend. With yesterday being our best ever day to date in restaurant. We managed 310 carveries in 3 hours. Sales on the day of £7,200 inc vat in the restaurant.”
Eliot Mair, Raemoir, Banchory, Scotland: “Settled warm weather proved to be the perfect conditions for the start of the gardening season. All departments busy. Very positive trading weekend.”
Matthew Bent, Bents, Warrington: “It has been a good day with the overall sales for the garden centre up, but our restaurant is similar to last year as customers were focusing on their garden and enjoying the sunshine.”
Boyd Douglas-Davies, Hillview Garden Centres in the Midlands said: “Excellent week! Started just over a week ago and just got better and better.
“Superb weekend that beat Easter last year by a long way. This is already a record March for us.
“Plants, both Garden and Houseplants had a great week, as did gardening. Particularly pots and compost.”
Nigel Wallis, Baytree Garden Centre, Spalding commented: “Yes a fab weekend for us, sales across the centre were up in every department and catering especially. Saturday was better than Sunday for some reason.”
Martin Cowell, Cowells, Newcastle summed up their performance as: “Well what a scorcher!! Just goes to show how the weather still heavily influences our business.
“Sales Mothering Weekend 2016/2017 +124%, sales same Weekend last year +123%. Very good weather this weekend. Last year 5/6 degrees this year 17/18 degrees and Mother’s Day 20 days later this year.
“Our Top 5 Departments Mothering weekend were: Perennials +289%, Compost +242%, Shrubs +200%, Bedding +167%, Terracotta +97%. All very core gardening.
“In the week leading up to Mother’s Day we saw sale of National Gift Vouchers +206% and Cowell’s Gift Vouchers +153%”
Neil Gow, Fresh @ Burcot Garden Centre gave us this detailed analysis: “We took the decision to close bookings for Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea earlier in the week as we would rather do what we were going to do well, than more but not so well. So I think we can claim to be fully booked!
“We end to look at 5 year averages rather than comparison to "last year” to get a true picture of trade. Given how much Mother’s Day moves around the month of March, in the 5 years there is only 2014 where it came later than this year which was in 2014 when it fell on the 30th March. That year the weather was warm and sunny too so no wonder that was a big year! In that 5 year period there is also 2013 when Mother’s Day was on the 9th March and a week later our road was blocked for 5 days because of the snow!!
“Mothers Day Saturday 2017 was 22.4% up on our 5 year average and 17.75% up on our biggest previous day which was 2014. Mothers Day Sunday 2017 was 31% up on our 5 year average . So yes Mothers Day Weekend 2017 has been a good one for us being 24.1% up on our 5 year average. “We also tend to look at whole weeks as being a smaller centre, a big sale or two can distort figures, and you never can tell when a big order comes! Mother’s Day week - the 7 days trading from Monday to the end of Mothering Sunday – sees 2017 at 25.2% up on our 5 year average.
“March 2017 is to date, also our highest gross turnover in the 5 year period running 19.98% up on 2016 on a like for like basis which by now had also included Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday trade.”
Simon Bourne from Perrywood, Tiptree, Essex added: “Yes, I can echo what others are saying. I haven't run all the numbers yet but it looks like a record Saturday for March and a record day in the restaurant yesterday.
“March will be a record, beating 2014, our previous record comfortably.”
And over in Northern Ireland, Philip Gass from Greative Gardens tells us: "Mother’s Day weekend was good for us – 46.5% increase on last year. In our favour with it being a bit later this year and also the weather was good.
"Increases were really across the board, some better sales of higher price ticket items in Furniture and BBQ departments, but also good increases in plants and gardening."
David Yardley, Klondyke Strikes Garden Centres, North of England and Scotland has just given us some highlights: "Scotland didn’t perform as well as the North of England as we were comparing 7 days against 7 because we don’t have to close on Easter Sunday up here.
"Overall we were 30.2 % up for the week compared to Easter last year, 27.9% Garden Centres only, 39.1% up in restaurants. Compared to Mother's Day week last year we were up 66% overall, Garden Centres up 90% and Restaurants up 42% with Mother's Day itself up 82% overall, Gardens Centres up 101% and Restaurants up 48%.
"Figures very good at the moment but not getting carried away, still a lot of weeks to go before we can declare it a good season."
Adrian Goodall, Waresley Park, Bedfordshire send us this summary of trading: "Saturday was a record day in the garden centre, the busiest ever day in March and April. Sunday was a record day in the restaurant +22% up on Mother's Day last year.
"Our Mother's Day weekend comparison is +122% on last year and March is already our busiest ever, currently running at over +28% on last year.
"Top sellers are plants, furniture, gifts, garden sundries and farm shop.
"We've had an excellent first quarter, long may it continue. Our customers are in a very positive mood."
Russell Winteridge, Barton Grange, Preston tells us that: "Footfall was down 8% Mothers Day Weekend year on year but turnover up 12% driven by leisure and outdoor sales. We put this down to being completely covered so we tend not to peak and trough as much as most centres. With good weather, the browsers tend to go eslewhere leaving the committed shoppers to enjoy the experience more, therefore spending more per head on average.
"Straight week comparison; the site was up £60k (+20%), leisure up £20k, catering up £15, the rest spread over various categories. Interestingly, perennials showed a massive increase with most other hardy plant categories similar to last year except conifers which took a bit hit."
Did you have a record breaking Mother's Day weekend? Send us your trading highlights and we will add them to this story. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or use the comments button below.