skip to main content
Find Insight DIY on
* * *


Garden Centres Talk Trading, Supply And Demand

Couple in garden centre shutterstock_117231496 725 x 500

The first 4 months of 2021 have broken records for garden centres despite Covid social distancing and shortages of stock, especially garden furniture.

First 4 months

Simon Bourne from Perrywood garden centres explained how the first 4 months of 2021 have been for garden centres. 

“Trading in January and first three weeks of Feb were really tough without the usual draw of the restaurant to pull people in plus the fear of the second wave of Covid.

“Then the warm week of weather hit in the last week of Feb and we haven't stopped since. March was incredible, fuelled by a 'frenzy' of people wanting to garden and buy furniture, large specimen plants, propagation and seeds.

“April slowed down due to the colder weather and the fact that we sold so much garden furniture in March that there wasn't much left. Compared to any normal April, we were hugely up in the garden centre but it felt like we could have done more.”

Klondyke shared a similar experience.  David Yardley said, “Even including restaurant sales for last year, [compared to our] plan and 2019 we are up as a company since the start of our financial year on the 1st of October.

Basket size has increased from 3 items to nearly 5

Compared to the last normal spring in 2019, Poplars garden centre lifted sales by 55% in the first 4 months excluding restaurants.  

David Little explained, “While customer numbers were similar, the average sale increased from £26.69 ex vat to £41.81 ex vat. Which is a 56% increase. Mainly led by stronger garden furniture sales but the average basket size has increased from 3 items to nearly 5 – so customers are buying more too.”

We are all screaming for stock

Some garden centres are being hit by supply issues especially of garden furniture as you will see from our image of the furniture display at Dobbies, Andover.

Former HTA president, Caroline Owen of Scotsdales said, “Stock delays of furniture are an issue. Furniture ordered for a February delivery is not arriving until June/July.”

For Poplars, David Little said, “The demand for garden furniture, bbq’s and outdoor heating is way beyond anything we can supply. We are playing a waiting game on furniture. Most of our incoming stock is reserved by customers already.

“We are all screaming for stock. We appreciate the efforts suppliers and growers are making. However rationing has started to become the norm and we are forward booking stock for the Autumn already. I don’t think demand is going to go away any time soon.

"It is beginning to feel like a year with 2 Spring seasons. One before Easter and one post Easter. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”

Suppliers have done a tremendous job

Last autumn Perrywood anticipated huge demand this spring and supplier shortages… “So we are well stocked in most categories but there will still be holes. I think our suppliers have done a tremendous job of keeping the stock flowing and those that have communicated well, pulled out all of the stops and gone the extra mile will see tremendous growth this year.”

And it is not just garden furniture, Nick Crabbie for Berwick highlighted shortages of some plant stock as well.

May bank Holiday

Most garden centres shared the experience of Berwick Garden Centres over the first May bank holiday who said trade was lively on Saturday and Sunday but disappointing on a cold and wet Bank Holiday Monday. 

David Yardley agreed that the first Mayday holiday was a bit flat compared to recent sales at Klondyke but this is largely due to poor weather and a lack of garden furniture stock.

The exception was Poplars, who said, “May weekend was solid – we got lucky with the weather and had three fairly equal days of trading…

"We think the fair weather gardeners haven’t really got started yet so there is plenty more demand to come.”

Source : Reproduced with kind permission from George Bullivant of Gardenforum

For all the very latest news and intelligence on the UK's largest home improvement and garden retailers, sign up for the Insight DIY weekly newsletter.  

10 May 2021

Related News

view more UK DIY News

I find the news and articles they publish really useful and enjoy reading their views and commentary on the industry. It's the only source of quality, reliable information on our major customers and it's used regularly by myself and my team.

Simon Fleet - Sales & Marketing Director, Thomas Dudley Ltd

Don't miss out on all the latest, breaking news from the DIY industry