Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 05/18/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
It's been a long time coming, but local retailers expect spring-buying fever to hit with a vengeance during the Victoria Day long weekend.
"This weekend will probably be our busiest weekend of the year," Nicole Bent, owner of Shelmerdine Garden Centre Ltd., said in an interview. "Every corner of our store will be busy."
"It's going to be huge," added Rob Petkau, general manager of the Canadian Tire store on Regent Avenue.
The anticipated stampede of shoppers can't come soon enough for most local garden centres and outdoor-supplies stores. It's been a brutal spring for many of them, as a never-ending winter and the threat of spring flooding prompted many homeowners to postpone their annual spring purchases.
One retailer interviewed said his sales are down 30 to 40 per cent from where they should be at this time of year. Others wouldn't put a number on it, but agreed the unseasonably cold weather in April and early May has hurt sales.
But they all said there's still plenty of time to catch up, starting this weekend.
"We're anticipating we'll have a strong finish to May and that we'll make up a lot of the ground we lost... " said Jay Breckman, general manager of LCL Spas & Billiards, which sells items such as cedar gazebos and outdoor hot tubs and spas.
"We were way behind, but we're starting to catch up," Petkau said, adding some shoppers decided not to wait until the weekend. His store was so busy on Thursday, some cashiers had to cut their lunch hour short to deal with the growing lineups at the tills.
"We've also got six guys building bikes right now and they can't keep up."
The kinds of products retailers expect to see flying out the front doors this weekend include lumber supplies, barbecues, patio furniture, bicycles, automotive supplies and many yard and garden products. That means everything from trees, shrubs, garden soil and sod, to landscaping rocks and those cute little yard and garden ornaments homeowners seem to be going gaga over these days.
"And people want that instant colour, so I think hanging (flower) baskets will be a big mover," said Darin Lemieux, Rona Home & Garden Centre's director of marketing and development for Manitoba, Saskatchewan and northwestern Ontario.
Kevin Twomey, owner of T & T Seeds and Garden Centre on Roblin Boulevard, is crossing his fingers it won't rain all weekend.
"If it rains for four days it will take the top off (of sales)," Twomey said. "I know that from past experience."
He said people want to buy their plants and trees and put them in the ground right away. So if it's raining all weekend, some may delay their purchases again.
But the prospect of a soggy weekend wasn't worrying Petkau or Phil Squarie, owner of Wicker World Home & Patio, which claims to have Manitoba's largest selection of patio furniture.
"The nice weather keeps people outside. The rain brings them in (to the store)," Squarie said.
"In fact, we need the rain," Petkau added. "The rain is just going to help green things up. It will not slow down sales at all."
Shelmerdine's Bent said traffic started picking up at her Roblin Avenue garden centre on the Mother's Day weekend. But only the diehard gardeners were buying then. The rest seemed to be there to see what's available, with the idea of returning this weekend to make their purchases.
"And next weekend could be almost as busy because of how delayed the spring has been," she added.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 18, 2013 B6
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Selinger skips trade mission
Pershing Square files evidence against Allergan
Entrepreneurial ranking puts city in middle of pack
The top 10 books on Apple's iBooks
Conference Board of Canada sees bounce-back for city's economy
Be wary of using surplus, PBO tells Ottawa
StandardAero recovering after September blaze
The top iPhone and iPad apps on App Store
Manitoba officials happy with COOL ruling
Multiple efforts to ban tobacco farm child labour
2nd guilty plea in California tainted beef case
EU antitrust watchdog eyes DuPont, Honeywell
Pilot errors, fatigue led to deadly Ga. jet crash
US stocks gain in midday trading; Apple, Harley up
Dallas tycoon Wyly files for bankruptcy protection
EIC sells U.S. cell tower company, retains Canadian operations
Oil CEO in sad toll of famed plane crash victims
Cyprus to block Turkey's EU bid over gas dispute
New rules on banks' risk in mortgage bonds eased
Durant signs endorsement deal with Neff
Unemployment rates fall in 31 US states last month
US existing home sales rise in September
Slovakia bans exports of drinking water
US existing home sales up 2.4 per cent in Sept. to fastest rate in 2014; still lags 2013 pace
Kimberly-Clark to cut up to 1,300 jobs
Ontario Teachers buys into laundry business
5 problems McDonald's is facing in the US
CVS develops tobacco-free prescription network
B.C. law on LNG greenest in world: minister
TSX advances on earnings, Chinese data
Loonie higher amid Chinese growth data
America says no to cappuccino potato chips
McDonald's CEO outlines changes as sales slide
Canadian Pacific Q3 results up from last year
B.C. set to release proposed LNG tax rate
Reynolds' net rises on higher cigarette prices
Coke to slash costs as soda sales remain flat
Verizon reports higher 3Q net income, revenue
Reynolds American beats Street 3Q forecasts
Turner channels removed from Dish amid pact spat