The Horticultural Trades Association's latest market update has shown a depressing slump in garden trade, with May sales down 8% on last year and June up just 3%, bringing the total to -11% for the year to June 30, 2012
Whilst "appalling weather, low consumer confidence and squeezed consumer spending" were blamed by the HTA, the group argued that June was "arguably a positive result given the especially wet conditions." It added that while consumer confidence levels remained low, they have stabilised when compared with 2011.
The association is now hoping that improved weather, good feeling surrounding the Olympics and the general resilience of the garden centre market will help lift sales before the end of the summer.
HTA director of marketing and communications Andrew Maxted said: "The latest HTA market update reflects the reality of exceptionally tough trading conditions this spring. Growers, garden centres and landscapers alike have seen the wettest and coldest April - June period in memory combining with low consumer confidence and squeeze household budgets.
"The core garden market is however resilient and still shows every sign of wanting to take advantage of the recent improvement in weather and this latest report focuses on opportunities within the odler and keener gardening consumer segments."
The HTA is also keen to reach the younger gardening
enthusiasts with its new Plan it, Plant it campaign. It is also hoping the "narrowing gap between inflation and earnings" will help draw spend from young gardeners.