US: Garden centers hoping to grow after pandemic

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Garden centers enjoyed a pandemic boom, particularly with millennials, as people looked for outdoor activities during lockdowns. Now the question is, will those wannabe green thumbs stick with the habit.

In 2022, 80% of U.S. households took part in lawn and gardening activities, a five-year high, according to the National Gardening Association’s 2023 National Gardening Survey. Spending on lawn and gardening activities rose to an average of $616 per household in 2022, an increase of $74 from 2021.

Danny Summers, managing director of The Garden Center Group, which tracks sales of about 125 centers across the country, said sales are up by about 25% compared with 2019. But the sales totals flattened out between 2022 and 2023.

The spring season is crucial because garden centers can make about 60% of sales during the 12 weeks of spring, according to Summers. That’s particularly true for centers in the North since there are fewer months to plant. To regain the sales momentum, garden centers must navigate a number of challenges as another spring season kicks in. Chief among them are volatile weather and higher costs for labor and plant materials, which in turn has forced the companies to raise prices for customers.


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