Yes, the summer has admittedly been a bit of a washout, but the wet weather doesn't seem to have dampened the spirits of the garden retailers and suppliers we spoke to for our recent garden market special.
While many acknowledged conditions weren't exactly ideal (including the wettest drought on record!) the comments we had were far from the doom and gloom one might have predicted.
The Jubilee and Olympics may not have given everyone the boost they'd hoped for but the most important thing is that sales don't seem to have suffered. While other retail sectors bemoaned the lack of customers and falling sales during the Olympic period, some DIY and garden outlets flourished, as the sunny weather in the last week of August bolstered sales of beleaguered outdoor living ranges.
Of course the rain wasn't all bad, boosting sales of slug and snail pellets - something I can relate to, having declared war on the slimy buggers in my own garden!
Most retailers have been philosophical about any hindrances, have learnt lessons and are already planning ways to make up lost sales over the rest of the year.
I think it says a lot about the character and determination of the industry, echoing the sentiment of the HTA's Andrew Maxted who described the overwhelming feeling of 'being in it together' this season.
In fact, it is likely that the robust and almost 'recession-proof' nature of the garden centre sector is what is proving attractive to a growing number of investors coming in to the industry. And with so many individual and exciting businesses, it is little wonder.
Which brings me neatly to our upcoming DIY Week Awards
. Not only will the event see the industry come together for a fun evening
, a spot of networking and a few glasses of bubbly but it will also provide the perfect opportunity to raise a glass and celebrate the stand-out products and retailers that make our industry what it is.
Whether you want to enter your own product or business, or even nominate someone else, please do. We work hard all year, in the face of whatever the weather and economy throws our way, so don't pass up the opportunity for a bit of recognition.