February garden centre sales proved disappointing

The wettest February on record dampened enthusiasm for gardening purchases suggests the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) report.

Cash register

Overall sales were disappointing in February, explained GCA CEO, Peter Burks, with total sales only just up by + 0.91%.

“As was the case all through last year, these figures have been significantly undermined by another poor month for furniture and BBQs at -29.34%. Houseplants, -17.59%, and hard landscaping -7.86% were also down when compared to last year. Plus, it was the wettest February on record with some areas having more than four times their monthly average of rain, which made it impossible to get out on the ground and it was bound to dampen enthusiasm for doing anything outside. Or even thinking of new garden furniture in readiness for entertaining outdoors in the spring and summer”, explains Burks

Just three of the categories recorded by the GCA were down when likened to February 2023. Clothing did well, showing an increase of 20.9% with catering just behind at +19.55% compared with the same month last year. Food hall/farm shop category was also up by 14.69%, when compared to the same month in 2023. This was followed by pet & aquatics at +9.49%, gifts at +9.21%, excluding the miscellaneous category, which was up +7.91%, with seeds & bulbs in at +6.78%. Outdoor plants also recorded a positive, if small, return in February, in comparison to the same month last year, and was up +0.47% and garden sundries was at +0.07%.

“But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, all other categories were up, suggesting general trade was actually quite good. On the whole, the outlook is sunny, despite the grey clouds overhead”, said Burke.

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.