With countless garden centres reporting adverse sales as a result of bad weather, the majority of big name concession operators currently trading from garden centres have reported more favourable conditions.
This has helped fuel growth in the market, with a number of new openings happening in the first half of 2012. Despite tough times, these openings are resulting in increased investment into the sector. Brands including Pets Corner, Edinburgh Woollen Will, The Works, Mountain Warehouse, Shuropody, Roman Originals and Cotton Traders have all opened new stores this year. As their business is less reliant on weather, they are reporting resilient sales in their garden centre locations, according to First Franchise.
First Franchise, a garden centre concession company, says the benefits to garden centres are in the increased footfall to their sites generated by the concessionary retailers. This provides a year-round boost to business and provides the rents that form the basis of a modern garden centre's cash flow.
According to First Franchise, the typical internal garden centre concession requires 750 sq ft - 4000 sq ft depending on the category. Clothing, pets, aquatic and camping are the most sought-after for site owners and customers. First Franchise claim: "Internal space within garden centres offer the potential for a higher return and allocating this space for a guaranteed return enables garden centres to be able to manage their forecasted returns and stock holding more efficiently as they financially plan for the year ahead."
First Franchise managing director Keith McIntyre said: "Traditionally concessions have been a means to complement the existing garden centre offer, however, we are now experiencing a change which incorporates concessions into the financial model of the garden centres as well as an integral piece of their retail offer.
"Despite the recent bad weather we are still looking for space in suitable garden centres and have a range of operators to suit with Pets, Camping, Clothing and Aquatics still proving to be the most popular."