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Garden Centre Sales Fail to Recover Spring Losses

Garden centre mask covid shutterstock_1837448596 725 x 500.jpg

Garden centre sales failed to recover the 8 lost spring weeks with catering revenues and plant sales hit worst according to the latest GCA Barometer of Trade.


The Barometer of Trade shows that garden centre sales were down 15% in December on average, although there was a big variation in individual performances, with 12 of the 58 garden centres in the survey saying that sales increased in the month.

Christmas is the largest category in December.  Although sales were down -10%, for the season as a whole they were up +9%, suggesting that customers had shopped early.  

Shopping patterns changed because of Covid-19 and garden centres cancelling normal Christmas events such as the visits from Father Christmas and late night shopping.  Gift sales were also lower at -4%.

Catering sales were over -60% lower, with restaurants closed in tier 3 and 4 areas of England and most of Scotland.

2020, the year of Coronavirus

The GCA figures show that, including catering, total sales were down around -2%.  This compares to the HTA calculation of -10%, which seems more in line with other GCA figures.

The drop in revenue is largely due to catering which was down -51% for the year.  It made up only 13% of sales, down from 22% in 2019.  Clothing (-22%), Gifts (-9%) and Outdoor Plants (-7%) were also lower. 

Despite double digit monthly sales increases since garden centres reopened, hardy plants never caught up with the lost 8 peak weeks of the spring when garden centres were closed.

Other evidence of the interest in gardening shows with garden sundries increasing by +9%.  The category rose from 13.5% of sales in 2019 to 16.5% in 2020.  Seeds and bulbs (+8%) showed the same trend.

With such good spring weather garden furniture sales were +5%.

Average spend

Average spend per customer increased from £26.99 to £31.38 as the number of restaurant visits fell and the casual shopper was deterred by Covid-19 restrictions.

In December the average spend jumped to £48 from £26 a year earlier.

Source : Reproduced with permission from George Bullivant at GardenForum

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27 January 2021

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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.

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