Gardening Express Reports Buoyant 2007, Optimistic on outlook for 2008
Gardening Express, the UK’s leading online Garden Centre reports a surge in sales of over 90% to the 31st December 2007.
The phenomenal rise was attributed entirely to the companies own website, rather than through it’s partner sites where sales have also grown significantly. However, Chief Executive Chris Bonnett admitted that sales growth slowed in the second half of 2007 “following the fall out of the credit crunch and particularly the Northern Rock debacle, we noticed a shift in consumer sentiment, however we were able to negate the effects of this by bringing forward the release of a range of New and Exclusive products that buoyed sales”.
Performance had been well ahead of expectations earlier in the year, with sales rises up as much as 130% month on month, but this came ahead of the companies implementation of systems that could deal with the huge volumes of sales it was receiving. “We only anticipated growth of 50% over the entire year, so in order to keep up to our customers high expectations, we suspended one of our major sales channels, bringing order levels down to a more manageable level. We will be going live again with this particular channel to drive sales in the first quarter” commented Bonnett.
Gardening Express’ recent round of significant investment is now approaching an end, with the implementation of new state of the art back-office despatch systems. This is combined with an ongoing capital investment program that sees a new dedicated warehouse complete with specialist facilities sourced from around the globe opening later this month.
Commenting on the Bank of Englands’s Monetary Policy Committee decision to keep interest rates on hold last week Bonnett said “If the outlook for the economy doesn’t improve in the next month rates will have to fall, and we will then change view from our current optimism for the year, to a more cautious stance on what the rest of 2008 will bring. Although we had a good year, with continual month on month sales rises there was noticeable belt tightening in November & December, although I feel that with our customers they are simply delaying spending plans and waiting for Spring; sales in the first week of January are up over 40% on last year.” Historically the gardening sector shows resilience in hard times with consumers spending more at home for example if they decide they can’t afford a holiday. The firm are also committing record investment to marketing and branding that should see 2008 build on the success that was 2007.
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Gardening Express - Chris Bonnett, 08000 33 61 61, firstname.lastname@example.org
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