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Bank Holidays boost gardening sales

Retailers and suppliers have a reported a fantastic Bank Holiday fortnight with large increases in sales as consumers enjoyed barbecue weather, time off work and a royal celebration.

Gardening categories were particularly strong, with garden centre chain Dobbies reporting a 70% uplift in sales over the period throughout its 29 stores and online.

Easter Monday delivered a 64% like-for-like sales rise for the retailer, mainly driven by plants, gardening tools and equipment, as well as barbecues and garden furniture.

Chief executive James Barnes said: "It's the best start to the gardening season that our country has ever witnessed. Our sales certainly point to an exceptional number of people enjoying a warm week in their gardens."

Garden sundries supplier Gardman experienced a record sales month for April. "Sales are over 10% above our April 2010 total," said Gardman UK managing director Tim Stainton. "Highlight performances have come from the garden living ranges, particularly wall art and outdoor lighting. Another record for us is getting 103 truckloads out in one day - 20% up on our previous record!"

Alan Murdoch of Fermoy's Garden Centre and Farm Shop also reported a successful double Bank Holiday. "We saw a nice increase in business over the period, particularly on plants, pots and compost," he told DIY Week. "It coincided with us doing a major leaflet promotion through our stores and also the good weather helped a good deal. With the street parties, people were in a festive frame of mind and looking to buy plants that are in flower at the moment to help decorate their gardens."

While the business suffered a loss on the day of the Royal Wedding, as consumers stayed at home to watch the ceremony, the rest of the weekend was "fantastic", said Mr Murdoch, with the cooler weather boosting restaurant sales.

The quiet morning on the day of the wedding was "a blessing in disguise", according to Woodcote Garden Centre and Nurseries general manager Phil Barnden, as it gave the business time to straighten up and prepare for the second Bank Holiday weekend.

He added: "It wasn't quite as busy as the previous weekend but it was good. Plants and horticulture went well this time, whereas it had been the outdoor living ranges the previous weekend because the weather forecast was so good and people wanted to have a party. It wasn't quite as manic as the Easter Bank Holiday but the car park was still full."

Source : DIY

04 May 2011
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