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Garden centres have had a storming finish to the half-year.
Volume sales in the GTN Bestsellers All Products Index for the month of June – confirmed by the Met Office as the wettest and one of the coolest on record – were an impressive 17% up on the same period last year, and helped to nudge the half-year figure to within a whisker of GTN’s prediction that we could end up only 3% down compared to 2011.
In fact, despite the gloomy weather and even gloomier predictions of many observers, the half-year volume sales deficit finally rests at -3.65%, a dramatic improvement during the final four weeks of the period, thanks to late release of considerable pent-up demand as temperatures began to rise.
When we track this half-year’s volumes against those achieved in previous years, we find that they are ahead of 2010’s by 3.68% and exactly level with 2009.
After a season which, the Met Office say, also included the dullest June since 1987 and the wettest April to June period on record, this is a remarkable achievement. It suggests that gardening activity, although frustrated by the weather, has not been as badly affected by the state of the economy as some claim.
GTN Bestsellers comprises epos-derived volume sales data, so it will now be interesting to see whether turnover-related returns from the Garden Centre Association, the HTA and others, reflects a similar story.