GCA Barometer of Trade: February 2024

The Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) report for February 2024 saw clothing romp ahead at +20.9% with catering just behind at +19.55% when compared with the same month last year. Just three of the categories recorded by the GCA were down when likened to February 2023, according to the figures submitted by its member garden centres.

GCA CEO, Peter Burks says: “Clothing did very well and once again catering produced a very strong performance, continuing its super strong growth. “Overall though, it was a disappointing month for total sales in February, which were only up a touch at + 0.91%. But 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.

“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.”

Excluding the Christmas section, which was showing in February at +24.63%, the GCA’s next best performer was the food hall/farm shop category, up +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%.

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.

The BoT allows members to compare their trading positions with other centres. The GCA represents more than 200 garden centres nationwide.


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