Phew what a year that was! Prior to garden centres closing for the COVID-19 pandemic in March, the All Garden Centre Sales Index, as monitored by GTN Bestsellers from weekly garden centre EPOS data, was running at 3.6% up year on year with indications that, weather permitting, we were heading for an above average year.
That all changed with seven weeks of closure during Lockdown 1, when nothing was sold in store and by the time garden centres were added to the list of essential retailers and allowed to re-open the year-on-year deficit had soared to 50.7% down. That meant if sales were only the same as the previous year for the rest of 2020, we would have lost half a year’s business through being closed for seven of the key gardening weeks of the year.
As we all now know, the pent-up demand and the increased number of people making good use of their gardens created a spike in sales, which despite social distancing, saw transaction values double, furniture and BBQ’s sold out, and sales ran ahead of last year for 28 consecutive weeks by an average of just over 20% per week.
By the end of week 50 the GTN Bestsellers All Products Sales index had recovered to such an extent that volume sales for the year were only 8.9% down on last year. A truly amazing result that makes everyone so grateful to be a part of this wonderful sector and hugely grateful for all the lobbying and PR work carried out during Lockdown 1 to enable garden centres to re-open ahead of other retail.
Read more analysis and see the GTN Bestsellers sales index graphs for 2020 in GTN's December issue below:
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