DIDCOT, UK: UK garden centre sales have begun to level out after the gardening boom of 2020 but remain high when compared to 2019. Sales from September were up 29% from the same month in 2019, but down 7% from 2020. However, economic factors are threatening consumer confidence – something retailers should be aware of in the coming months.
The HTA’s latest Market Update report shows that a rise in inflation rates has negatively impacted consumers’ confidence in their finances, with their household incomes under pressure from inflation, fuel and tax price hikes in the lead up to Christmas. In fact, the Market Update report shows the consumer confidence index decreasing by 5 points from August to September. Last month, consumer price inflation rates had their highest recorded month-on-month increase. This is, in part, a result of last year’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme which decreased prices.
Also contributing to the drop in consumer confidence are rising fuel prices, which have increased for another consecutive month, and price increases through the horticulture supply chain (and the wider economy) caused by the continued rise in shipping container prices.
Due to these shifts, when asked an open question on what the top issues facing the UK are today, 24% of those British adults surveyed reported feeling concerned about the economy.
Amongst HTA member businesses, however, the mood remains positive with the HTA Member business confidence index showing that members are feeling positive about the next 12 months. 61% expect the volume of sales to increase, 59% expect to invest in skills and staff training, 54% expect to invest in new products/services, 47% expect to target new customers