Revenues from restaurants were the biggest earners for garden centres in July 2019. This year, owing to the Covid-19 restrictions, they are -55% lower according to the July Barometer of Trade conducted by the Garden Centre Association.
Despite the deflated catering, overall sales were +16% up on last year, driven by strong sales for the month of garden sundries (+49%), garden furniture and barbecues (+44%) and outdoor plants (+33%).
For 2020 so far outdoor living sales are now up 6%, while garden sundry sales are on a par with last year. Outdoor plant sales, although performing strongly, are still -17% down for the year.
Impulse lines still weak
There are signs of recovery this month by some impulse lines such as gifts (+13%), but clothing (-15%) continues to be depressed. For the year to date their sales are (-23%) and (-36%) respectively.
Growth not shared by all
Although the average growth for the month for the 51 garden centres contributing to the survey was +16%. 10 garden centres reported that sales were lower than 12 months ago. Some of these may be because they have yet to reopen their catering facilities.
Increase in average spend
There has been a marked increase in what customers spend when visiting garden centres. The average spend increased to £32.83 from £27.67, +18% in July.
For catering, the average bill has grown even more, +32% to £11.63 from £8.78 a year ago.
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