As June 2023 made history as the hottest June ever recorded, with unprecedented temperatures and a mix of heatwaves and heavy rainfall, garden centres experienced a marked surge in sales. The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has released its monthly market update, revealing the significant growth in garden centre sales, indicating a strong recovery in 2023 following disruptions in the first quarter of the year.
Garden centre sales for June showed a strong increase of 16% compared to the same period last year. This growth can be attributed to favourable weather conditions, attracting more customers and increasing footfall and sales. The sales growth was particularly notable in the garden and gardening categories, which saw an increase of 19% compared to June 2022. Bedding plants were up +31%, followed by hardy plants up +25%, maintaining that stock demand pressure on previous months. Associated gardening products also performed well, with seeds showing an 8% increase and plant care products up by 19% compared to June 2022.
Average Transaction Values (ATVs) within garden stores sustained growth, reaching £33.25 in June, a notable 4% increase compared to the same period last year. The contribution of price inflation to increased basket value has been a driving factor behind this growth.
June brought encouraging news for consumer confidence, with a 3-point improvement compared to the previous month. This upward trend indicates growing optimism when consumers rated their personal finances and the overall economic outlook for the future. However, concerns surrounding inflation and the state of the UK economy remained prevalent among consumers.
With the effects of climate change becoming more pronounced, water scarcity has emerged as a pressing concern. Despite the record-breaking June weather, certain regions, including Devon, Cornwall, and parts of East Anglia, are still grappling with drought conditions and temporary use bans (TUBs) on water usage. In response, the HTA urges its members to continue prioritising responsible water use and supporting customers in their efforts to conserve water while participating in gardening activities. As part of their commitment, the HTA has issued Summer gardening tips to help encourage and care for wildlife in gardens during the summer months.
The HTA encourages all member businesses to prepare for all possible scenarios and take action to ensure continuity of supply. Key measures include maximising storage capacity, promoting responsible water use, investing in water recapture infrastructure, and proactively addressing abstraction license requirements.
The HTA remains dedicated to providing guidance and resources to its members as they navigate the challenges posed by water scarcity and work towards enhancing their resilience.