April Garden Sales Mixed

Following a March that broke sales records for much of the garden retail industry, April sales are proving to be more mixed.

Spring broke early for much of the country in March, whereas April was more typical, with varied weather patterns. In those areas with mostly good weather, April continued the strong sales trend.

“April 2012 is up about 40 percent over 2011 due to the warmer weather and some aggressive marketing we did in March,” says Weston Nurseries’ Peter Mezitt. Weston Nurseries is located in Hopkinton, Mass. “It is right up there with our best April ever.”

Likewise, Ken Lain, owner of Watters Garden Center in Prescott, Ariz., saw a strong April. His sales were up 8 percent from 2011 sales, and close to his strongest April ever – 2006.

“Numbers are still out,” Lain says, “but we may have set an April profit record. We definitely hit our breakeven point in April, which is three weeks earlier than usual.”

Chris Trad of Trad’s Garden Center in Jacksonville, Fla., saw a welcome surge in sales after a weak March. “This is our best year ever, year-to-date, and April has been the best April in our 40-year history.”

Retailers in two regions on opposite sides of the country, the Pacific Northwest and the Southeast, report weaker April sales.

Unlike most, spring did not break early in the Northwest. “Out here in the great North-Wet we did not enjoy the summer-like weather that most of the country enjoyed. Our March was not as strong as previous ones,” says Brad Siebe, president of Seattle-based Swansons Nursery.

April proved to be an improvement, but only in context. “April was up 16.5 percent compared to 2011, however April 2011 was once of the worst Aprils on recent record.”

The Southeast, in contrast, experienced decent March sales, but stumbled in April.

“I’m down 7 percent,” says Virginia-based Atlantic Garden Center’s Jim Crowell. Crowell, who shares sales data with fellow retailers in North Carolina and Virginia, reports that all his regional peers tell him their sales are also down.

“Both months were down from last year,” says George Wallace of Sugar Creek Garden Center in Fort Mill, S.C., which is just across the state border from Charlotte, N.C. “March started strong and finished weak due to the weather. The same was true for April, which finished cold and wet.”

His April sales were down in double digits.

As you would expect, annuals and perennials were strong performers in April. But several retailers report a trend that began in March – tree sales are up significantly.

A couple retailers with increased sales report that they raised their prices significantly this year, with little to no push-back from customers. Trads raised its annual and perennial prices by 25 percent. Another Midwest retailer raised $4.99 annuals to $5.99.

“As the economy crashed in 2008 we eliminated outdoor living items like fountains and benches along with all garden gift items and slashed slow-turning pottery departments,” says Lain. “Each of these departments helped generate strong 2006 sales volumes. To match these numbers without these departments with nothing but plants and hardgoods sales is very encouraging and highly profitable.”

Leave a Reply

More From State of the Industry...
Hendriks-Half-Open-Roof_GGS

March 26, 2015

10 Greenhouse Products For First-Rate Growing Environments

From coverings to fork-lifts, greenhouse suppliers offer a variety of products to make growing easier. Check out the slideshow to learn more about these, plus several other products that can offer you value, versatility and durability.

Read More
Rose rosette on Knockout rose, April 2012. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 25, 2015

$58 Million In APHIS Farm Bill Funding Will Support Horticulture Priorities

Nearly $58 million as been allocated by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to support the industry's Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, under Farm Bill Section 10007. The program will support mitigation efforts for specialty crops, including providing research and other funding to address plant pest and disease priorities for the specialty crop industry, including floriculture and nursery crops.

Read More
AFE scholarship_Ryan Dickson

March 25, 2015

AFE Educational Grant And Scholarship Application Deadlines Approaching

Apply now for American Floral Endowment (AFE) scholarships or educational grants. Applications can be found online. For educational grants for 2015-2016, applications must be submitted no later than June 1. Scholarship applications are due May 1. AFE will award $40,000 in scholarships for 2015.

Read More
Latest Stories

March 25, 2015

NASS Reports U.S. Honey Production Was Up By 19 Percent…

Honey production in 2014 from producers with five or more colonies totaled 178 million pounds, up 19 percent from 2013, according to a March 20 report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

Read More
cultivate'15 logo

March 4, 2015

Cultivate’15: AmericanHort Announces What’s…

In an industry that has seen major changes occurring at a fast pace, many industry professionals leave Cultivate with their heads spinning and no clear idea of how to regroup and strategize. Cultivate’15 is “Changing the Game.” As this year’s focus, Changing the Game will call your attention to the ways in which our industry has changed and your opportunities to compete successfully.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

February 2, 2015

Download Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 State Of The In…

The Greenhouse Grower 2015 State Of The Industry Whitepaper includes all the results of the survey, including comparisons on 2014 sales to past years, details on how 2015 production volume and prices will compare to 2014, crops that growers will increase and decrease production on, where growers stand on using neonicotinoids on crops, how many growers will pursue growing medical marijuana and more.

Read More

January 27, 2015

Benchmarks: Let’s Change Our Story

It's a new year. Time for our industry to change how consumers perceive plants by creating a new reality where plants are valued for more than their physical beauty.

Read More

January 21, 2015

AFE Wins Platinum MarCom Award For “Murder, Sex a…

The American Floral Endowment (AFE) took home its fourth award for the animated awareness video "Murder, Sex and Greed." The organization also recently announced that there are two new members on its board of trustees.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

January 19, 2015

2015 State Of The Industry: Current Green Industry Tren…

Demand for green industry products and services is forecasted to increase in coming years as the housing market rebounds.

Read More

January 14, 2015

Terra Nigra Joins DNA Green Group

DNA Green Group will be expanding its range of cut flowers by incorporating Terra Nigra, a company specializing in breeding and propagation of gerberas and roses.

Read More

January 14, 2015

Florensis Receives Horticultural Entrepreneur Award

During the January 7, 2015 award ceremony in the Keukenhof, in Lisse, Netherlands, Florensis received the Horticultural Entrepreneur Award. Florensis was one of four nominated companies, which also included Arcadia BV, Artemis and Martens Asperges.

Read More
AmericanHort

January 9, 2015

AmericanHort Celebrates Its First Birthday

AmericanHort was formally launched one year ago on January 1, 2014, and the association is celebrating numerous successes of the first year.

Read More
Carol Miller

January 7, 2015

We’re All In This Together

Growers and retailers have a common goal — to serve customers better. In this new column, Greenhouse Grower will take a look at ways growers and retailers can work together to take advantage of profit opportunities and better meet customer needs.

Read More

January 7, 2015

Industry Speaks Out Against “Waters Of The U.S.” Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule change to the Clean Water Act, known as “waters of the U.S.,” has the potential to disrupt normal business practices for growers across the country.

Read More

January 7, 2015

Students Tackle Real-Life Challenges At National FFA Fl…

Top prize winners put skills learned in the classroom to the test at the National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Floriculture Career Development Event.

Read More
Lesley Judd

January 7, 2015

2014 Meister Scholarship Awarded To Ph.D Student

The Richard T. Meister Scholarship was awarded to Lesley Judd, a graduate student with a passion for horticulture and a desire to pass her knowledge along through teaching.

Read More

January 6, 2015

39th Annual Today’s Horticulture Symposium Will Be Febr…

The Professional Gardener Alumni Association (PGAA) will hold the 39th Annual Today’s Horticulture Symposium program will be on February 6, 2015 from 8 a.m. or 4 p.m. in the Ballroom at Longwood Gardens, and will feature an array of engaging speakers.

Read More
Shawn McBurney

January 6, 2015

Society Of American Florists Hires New Lobbyist

Shawn McBurney joined the Society of American Florists' (SAF) staff starting January 5 as the new senior director of government relations.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

January 5, 2015

Growers Are Optimistic For A Strong Year In 2015

Greenhouse Grower’s State Of The Industry survey reveals that growers are being cautious about the inputs they use, and they’re worried about input costs and regulation, but enthusiastic about the rebounding economy.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

January 5, 2015

The 2015 State Of The Greenhouse Industry: Numbers At A…

Greenhouse Grower's 2015 State Of The Industry Survey shows some promising trends for the new year. Here's a look at the greenhouse market for 2015.

Read More
Greenhouse Grower State of the Industry

January 5, 2015

Suppliers Will Increase Prices, Grower Education For 20…

Vendors' expectations are high for 2015, according to their responses on Greenhouse Grower's 2015 State Of The Industry Survey.

Read More