Stormy October sees modest growth in garden centre sales

The HTA reports that in the non-garden/gardening categories, catering soared at +19% and food and farm shop also did well, up +9%

The Horticultural Trades Association's (HTA) newly released November market update reveals that despite Storm Babet and the wettest October since 1998, that UK garden centre retail saw positive trends last month.

Fran Barnes, chief executive of  HTA reports:" Despite the challenges posed by the wettest October in decades and shifting consumer trends, the garden centre stands strong and demonstrates its ongoing resilience. In the face of Storm Babet and economic uncertainties, October 2023 not only defied traditional sales patterns but marked a respectable +2% growth.

 “With adverse weather conditions and the inherent limitations of October as a typically smaller sales month, the horticultural sector showcased a commendable +2% growth in overall garden centre sales compared to the same period last year. This growth is particularly noteworthy considering plant sales suffered from the relentless rain but showed strong performance for year-to-date comparisons (Bedding was +12% and Hardy plants were +10%). 

“The strength of our performance in plant care and tool categories, coupled with a slight increase in Average Transaction Values to £23.67, reflects sustained consumer interest in their green spaces. In the non-garden/gardening categories, catering soared at +19% and food and farm shop also did well, up +9%, demonstrating that even the poor weather couldn't dampen the spirit of our garden centres as customers seek shelter and leisure in garden centre cafes and restaurants.”

Other updates of note include the Consumer Confidence Index experiencing a notable decline of -9 points to reach -30, reflecting consumers' cautious outlook amidst concerns about energy prices, fuel costs, and Christmas expenditures. The HTA recognises these challenges and identifies that providing extra incentives for customers to visit during the upcoming festive season in November and December could be key to ensuring a vibrant end to the year.

HTA Members can read the full report on the website.

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