Thursday, 17 August 2017

Garden centres suffer from cold

GARDEN centres in and around Henley are counting the cost of poor weather before and over the Easter bank holiday.

GARDEN centres in and around Henley are counting the cost of poor weather before and over the Easter bank holiday.

Plant sales were down by as much as 50 per cent on the same weekend last year as customers stayed at home rather than brave the cold outside.

Playhatch Garden Centre cut the price of its plants in order to try to move stock.

Caroline Gill, the shop manager, said: “We have had massive reductions on all our plants but we haven’t had to throw anything away. We are about four weeks behind in that we were putting out lawn feed at this time last year.”

Alex Silver, shop manager of Woodcote Garden Centre, said: “It is pretty much the same story with us as any garden centre at the moment. It is very quiet and not as busy as it should be.

“We haven’t had to throw anything away because most of our plants have been kept in tunnels and the only things we have reduced the price of are some potted primroses that caught the frost a bit.”

Plant sales were down 50 per cent at Sheeplands Hare Hatch but there were plenty of visitors attracted by the butchers shop, coffee shop and children’s play area.

Owner Rob Scott said: “Overall customer numbers and sales over Easter were okay.Visitor numbers were boosted by a very successful Health, Wealth and Wellbeing Fair on the Saturday.

“When it comes to plants our sales, in common with other garden centres, were down by about 50 per cent over the same period last year. There was also a drop in sales of ancillary garden items such as compost.

“However, we are optimistic that as the sun does start to break through in the next week or so gardeners will want to catch up and start buying again.”

Tristan Stubbs, who runs the Toad Hall garden centre, off Marlow Road in Henley, said: “We haven’t had as many customers as we have had at this time in recent years but we haven’t had to throw anything away.

“Trade has picked up over the last week or so. Everything is about four weeks behind on where we were last year.”

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