The warmer weather has had a positive effect on many DIY and garden categories, according to the latest research from analysts GfK Retail & Technology.
The warmest April on record, and the Bank Holiday boost, combined to give DIY stores a 6% increase in value growth for the month, and unsurprisingly, a 27% lift in seasonal categories, compared with April 2010. In fact, GfK says it is currently seeing "positive growth figures across all outdoor product groups."
For example, while paint has seen an "excellent" performance in the past month, says GfK (6% month-on-month value growth and 5.7% year-to-date (ytd), like-for-like (lfl) sales growth) it's the exterior categories that have driven this uplift.
Masonry paint has seen a 29% growth in value and a 23% growth in volume in April, compared with the same month last year. Likewise, exterior trim paint rose 21% in both value and volume.
This bucks the current overall paint trend, which in volume terms, says GfK, "still proves to be quite weak" with a 3.9% decline in April compared with 2010 and a 2.6% ytd decline.
Gardening-related categories have seen even stronger growth. Below is a selection of product categories, showing their year-to-date growth rates compared with 2010:
Lawn fertiliser 9%
Lawn spreaders 17%
Lawn seed 19%
Plant fertiliser 15%
Pest & disease (excl flying) 12%
Flying insecticide 64%
Garden watering 19%
Outdoor BBQ 70%
Despite some categories "displaying exceptional performance", GfK says it is difficult to extrapolate these performances across the rest of the year. While the good weather is providing a boost now, it may cause problems later in the season if it continues as it is - lack of water being the most crucial.
However, concludes GfK, "the garden market can continue to achieve a hugely successful 2011, as it seems, despite tough trading conditions, Britain's gardeners are not willing to see their gardens go to seed."