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Brits to spend £1.4bn at garden centres and DIY stores this Easter

LaToya Harding
·3-min read
A man wearing a mask at Polhill Garden Centre, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Sevenoaks, Britain, May 13, 2020. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), garden centres and DIY stores will receive a boost as the trend to splash out and spruce up homes in lockdown continues. Photo: Reuters/Dylan Martinez

UK garden centres and DIY stores are expected to rake in around £1.4bn ($1.9bn) over Easter amid banned holidays and the closure of other non-essential retailers.

The Easter weekend is usually a highlight for shops, pubs and restaurants, and leisure and hospitality firms, however, under current coronavirus restrictions, they are unable to open until 12 April.

According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), garden centres and DIY stores will receive a boost as the trend to splash out and spruce up homes in lockdown continues.

“This Easter will test the patience of retailers across the country while garden centres and DIY stores are set to benefit from the ongoing trend of Brits spending on home improvements,” the CEBR said.

“Compared with Easter 2020, we estimate that spending on DIY and gardening will be up by £290m this weekend, reaching £1.4bn.”

Wider retail sales for the weekend were expected to come in at around £8.1bn, an increase from £7bn last year, but below the pre-pandemic level of £9.2bn in 2019.

This equates to £290 per household this weekend, which is the lowest figure since 2015, apart from last year when the country was in its first national lockdown.

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“Brits have made the best of the situation and turned to improving their homes and gardens” the CEBR said.

In the final three months of last year, sales in DIY stores were up 35% while gardening centre sales rose 8.5%.

Last month the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that retail sales rebounded slightly in February as Brits spent money on home improvement projects and lawn furniture in preparation for easing lockdown restrictions.

February's sales were boosted by strong demand for household goods. Sales in this category rose by 16%.

The ONS said there was "anecdotal evidence" this rise was caused by demand for "DIY products as consumers continue to improve their homes during lockdown" and demand for outdoor furniture "in preparation for the easing of lockdown restrictions, particularly the ability to meet friends and relatives in private gardens as the weather improves."

B&Q reported strong sales last month thanks to home improvement projects and "a new generation of DIY'ers" emerging in response to lockdown.

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The company’s owner Kingfisher (KGF.L), which also owns Screwfix and other home improvement brands in Europe, said sales rose by 7.2% last year to reach £12.3bn ($17bn). 

Gross profit rose 7.5% to £4.5bn in the 12 months to 31 January 2021. Pre-tax profit improved a huge 634% to £756m.

However, the CEBR did add that non-essential retailers could expect increased spending when they are permitted to reopen as households look to spend the money saved during lockdown.

“A significant chunk of this spending will go into travel and hospitality once these sectors open up again, but certainly Brits will also be keen to give their wardrobe an update following a year where loungewear and joggers seemed to be the most popular clothing items,” the CEBR said.

“After a painful year, for many retailers things can only get better from here on.”

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