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Mild May Makes Way For Increase in Houseplant Sales

Monkton Elm Garden & Pet Centre 725 x 500.jpg

HOUSEPLANTS and catering sales were up at garden centres across the country during May (2019) according to the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) report.

Sales in houseplants were up 17.41% and catering was up 10.6% compared to the same month last year (2018). 

Iain Wylie, GCA Chief Executive, said: “Compared to the Easter heatwave in April, we experienced much milder weather in May, particularly towards the end of the month with rain affecting the last Bank Holiday Weekend. This meant customers had to enjoy foliage and flowers indoors instead, causing the rise in houseplant sales. 

“Once again the importance of non-traditional categories was proved as we saw a rise in catering sales during the month as garden centre customers perhaps sought shelter from the weather in restaurants and cafes.” 

Gift sales were up 3.04% and pets and aquatics departments saw a rise in sales of 2.53%. 

Iain added: “Outdoor plant sales were down -14.2% and seeds and bulbs down -3.83% due to the time of year. Garden sundries sales were also down -6.55% and after a flurry of sales during the April heatwave, sales in furniture and barbecues were down -14.03% this month. 

“May 2018 was a bumper month for garden centre sales due to the good weather, so this year is quite a contrast. It would have been great to see the April heatwave continue, especially as the Bank Holiday weekends are crucial times of the year for garden centres, but it was simply one of those times where we were able to rely on the non-traditional categories, such as catering, instead.”

Hard landscaping sales were down -4.55% and food hall and farm shop sales were down -0.57%.

Matthew Bent, Managing Director at Bents Garden & Home, said: “May 2019 has been a complete contrast to last year, with outside sales typically reflecting the poor weather that was a constant throughout the month. 

“Customers were definitely focusing on the inside rather than out and we’ve seen the trend for houseplants continue. Green foliage is really leading the way this year, cacti and succulents are still strong and bonsais are making a resurgence. 

“Even though the weather was poor, customers still wanted to get out and find something to do so our dining destinations have benefited with strong sales in catering. Compared to last year when, because of the great weather and World Cup, customers were visiting, buying, with an emphasis on outside areas, and then going home.” 

Overall sales for the month were down -6.62% with a year to date change of 9.13%. 

Mike Lind, Managing Director at Monkton Elm Garden & Pet Centre and GCA Chairman, said: “May certainly demonstrated how well GCA members have adapted their businesses over the last few years to minimise the impact on trade of un-favourable weather or other factors. 

“Catering again proved to be a real driver of footfall and attraction to garden centres as a social meeting point for friends and family. The increase in sales of houseplants, gifts and pets and aquatics was encouraging against the reduction in sales of outdoor plants and garden accessories due to the cooler and wetter weather. 

“Overall, the garden centre industry remains robust year to date, with GCA members leading the way in providing friendly, welcoming and pleasant surroundings to customers all year round.” 

The GCA BoT reports are compiled using actual sales figures and provide an up-to-date trading position statement. They are made available mid-month following the end of the prior month after all member garden centres have submitted their results.

The BoT reports allow members to compare their trading positions with other centres.

The GCA represents nearly 200 garden centres nationwide.

For further information, please call 01244 952170. Alternatively, please visit, log on to or follow the organisation on Twitter at

Source : Insight DIY Team and Garden Centre Association

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27 June 2019

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