Furniture and BBQ sales continue to dominate the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) and were up by 59.73% year-to-date, according to its recently released figures for August (2021). The report also shows a year-to-date increase in 12 out of 13 categories proving demand remained strong during the month.
Iain Wylie, GCA Chief Executive, explained: “Our members’ August figures are very positive, and although sales have slowed, they’ve stayed consistent across all areas. At the end of July, the heatwave prompted people to continue spending more time in their gardens and outdoor living spaces. It was also the first restriction-free full month, so hosting social occasions at home with friends and family resumed. Of course, demand for staycations has also been tremendous, and for those unable to get a break in this country, holidaying at home has been the order of the day, which has also fuelled further demand for furniture and BBQs.
“Although catering has been unsettled throughout the past 18 months and is still facing some difficulties, it saw a more stable increase from August 2020 with sales up for the month. Social distancing was still in place at this point last year, which needs to be taken into consideration.”
The year-to-date figure for catering has increased and is up at 3.33%. However, this is the first increase so far this year for the category.
Iain added: “Although we can now resume other hobbies and pursuits, the nation’s continued appreciation for plant life is still here, as houseplants have remained top sellers with sales up 50.42% and outdoor plants were also up 49.25%, year-to-date. The many advantages of gardening to our physical and mental health, plus, the inter-generational community it builds has helped maintain this.”
The remaining categories that performed well, year-to-date, in August, were gift sales up 43.15%, hard landscaping 39.61%, clothing 39.54%, food hall/farm shop up 36.7%, garden sundries 33.73%, seeds and bulbs 25.83%, as well as pets and aquatics up 28.52%.
Iain continued: “As we move towards autumn and winter, experts are also predicting a very busy sales period, coming earlier than normal, as people get ready for the festivities and in anticipation of ‘normal’ celebrations and gatherings. We are also sure to see the impact of a September Chelsea Flower show coming through with boosted sales of plants in September and October following this year’s delayed event.”
Overall sales for the month were up in August by 2% when comparing 2020 with 2021. 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 centers have submitted their results.