Garden centre sales in the first three months of 2013 were down by a quarter (25%) compared to the first three months of 2012, as cold weather meant gardeners stayed away, according to data released by Barclaycard on the launch of the 100th Chelsea Flower Show.
An unseasonably cold March had a significant effect on garden centre spend, with year-on-year sales declining by 38% compared to Mmarch last year as garden centres missed the start of their main traditional trading period.
As the cold weather continued, the first two weeks of April also saw lower spending but when spring finally arrived, the second two weeks of April saw spending grow significantly leading to an overall 8.5% increase for the month.
The good news has also continued into May, with sales during the first week of May up 70% on the same week last year.
Dave Chan, chief executive officer of Barclaycard Consumer Europe, said: “Garden centres were relieved to see the sun again and the end of the unseasonably cold weather which has kept visitors away and gardeners indoors. Our latest figures show they have returned with the warmer weather, and are now making up for lost time.”
Varying climatic conditions have resulted in different levels of spending at garden centres across the UK.
In April, the East of England had the strongest garden centre spend growth (18%), followed by London (13%). Scotland, however, was down 10.6%, in line with the extremely cold weather conditions experienced in April, researchers found.