Christmas comes early at GCA garden centres

Garden centre customers started preparing for Christmas in September with sales of festive products up on the same time last year according to the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT).

Christmas product sales were up 12.26% for the month as compared to September 2013. Seed and bulb sales were also up 9.75%.

Peter Burks, Chairman of the GCA, explained: “We have noticed that a lot of people have started their Christmas preparations earlier resulting in strong sales of festive products at our member garden centres.

“We believe this could be a result of the current economic climate with more people choosing to spread the cost of Christmas out over a few months.

“Many of our members have also been supporting the Horticultural Trade Association’s ‘Plan it, Plant it this Autumn’ campaign to encourage gardeners to start planting for spring and this could be a factor in the increase in sales of seeds and bulbs.

“Other good sellers in September were gifts, 7.96% up, food hall/farm shop and clothing, 7.57% up, and catering, 6.29%.”

The overall year to date figure currently stands at 3.23% up.

The GCA BoT reports are compiled using actual sales figures and provide an up-to-date trading position statement.

The BoT reports produced by the GCA allow member garden centres to compare their trading positions with other centres.

Tammy Woodhouse, Managing Director of The Millbrook Garden Company Limited, said: “Our Christmas product sales were particularly strong last month. I believe this is partly as a result of us launching the ranges earlier on in the season than we have done in previous years.

“This year, we also decided to expand our Christmas product range to give customers more choice and it seems as though this is already starting to pay off. We are hoping to see the strong sales carry on during the next few months too.”