Garden centre sales in Ireland were up 7% for Q3 which mainly happened in September.
Christmas sales have been slow and garden centres and most retailers are reporting negative sales up to ‘Black Friday’ and there is a feeling that ‘Black Friday’ (though more electronics and fashion) is having an effect of the general consumer wallet spend and thus causing everything to be delayed. There is a sense that consumers are also becoming price fatigued. The opposite approach by some retailers is to communicate ‘customer added value and in-store experience’ rather than engage in a race to the bottom in discount days and weeks!
Below are some trends that are noticeable here in Ireland:
- Divergence – we are seeing a divergence in the garden centre market where the larger better-resourced centres are growing market share and appealing to a wider geographic region, while smaller poorly resourced centres are in decline.
- Midweek convenience/Weekend experience – Irish consumers are very eager to enjoy weekend experiences. Garden centres are benefiting from this trend as they offer just that – hospitality, shopping and something to do.
- Loyalty – the centres who have implemented loyalty initiatives are enjoying enriched and deeper consumer relationships with more repeat visits, longer dwell time and higher basket sizes.
- Shop in Shop – this trend continues where some larger garden centres are home to other retailer brands. Retailers such as Tiger stores, Regata, EWM and other all see this as an important part of their growing footprint.
- The Future is Food – we are seeing food as a % of overall centre sales growing. We are about to see more branded food installations such as Chopped, Freshii and Leon. We will also see pop-up food from carts dotted around larger garden centre sites. Please note that in 3 years’ time discerning consumers will expect a better food offer and will want to see on-trend food brands popping up in their favoured garden centres.
- Events to Engage – as centres build their consumer databases we are seeing more centres host meaningful educational events. There is a willingness on the part of consumers to see the value in these and pay a fee to attend.
by Fergal Doyle