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Garden centres relied on non-traditional categories to boost 2012

Garden centres last year relied heavily on less traditional areas of trade to boost sales according to the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) results.

The best performing categories overall in 2012 according to the results, which are compiled using actual sales figures and provide an up-to-date trading position statement, were catering, Christmas and gifts.

Peter Burks, Chairman of the GCA, explained: “Despite the unpredictable and unseasonable weather playing a large part in making 2012 a very tough year for garden centres, our BoT results show that member garden centres can, and have relied on, non-traditional categories to boost their sales throughout the year.

“They adapted to the challenges of the past year by reducing their dependency on plant sales and focused on other areas of the business.

“Christmas product sales for the year saw a significant leap, up 10.35% on 2011, catering also had a great year, up 8.84%, clothing was up 5.47%, gifts up 4.49% and pets and aquatics up 3.42%.

Overall sales at GCA garden centres in 2012 were down 2%.

Peter added: “I’d like to congratulate all our members on their adaptability, flexibility and sheer hard work in 2012. As an industry that is traditionally weather-dependent, last year could have been disastrous.

“It is testament to our members innovative nature that sales were so high in certain areas.

“I’d like to wish everyone all the best for 2013, we all learned a lot of lessons this past year. If the British weather takes an unpredictable course again this year at least we will all be prepared.”

The lack of sunshine and unseasonable weather affected outdoor plant sales most noticeably, the category stands at 13.03% down for the year. Furniture and barbeque sales also suffered, standing 9.93% down, seed and bulb sales 8.21% down and hard landscaping 8.56% down.

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

Melanie Sewell, Catering Manager and Director at Fron Goch Garden Centre in Wales, which is a member of the GCA, said: “Our café has shown increased sales of 12.1% during 2012. As our catering offer represents 34% of total turnover, it helped turn 2012 into a pretty good year.

“We did not have a café until 2007 and now café turnover has reached £665,000. No one can afford to neglect this area with high gross profit margin and profitability.

“During 2012 we concentrated on driving sales through buy one get one free vouchers for breakfast and offers on hot lunches and introducing afternoon teas, in addition to improving profitability through controlling food and labour costs.”

Source : Garden & Hardware News

22 January 2013
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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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