The Garden Centre Group tried to buck the retail trend over the Easter weekend by opening its stores on Easter Sunday. This is despite the 1994 Sunday Trading Act not allowing stores of more than 280sq metres to open on an Easter Sunday. The stores could be fined up to £50,000 if they contravene this rule.
To get around it the stores opened their doors to Gardening Club members who were allowed to browse but not buy. The store hoped that these customers would return the following day to make their purchases. The cafés were able to sell their food however, and most did well. Hundreds of people turned up for the special day and enjoyed events such as an Easter egg hunt for children and lamb lunches being served in the cafés.
The Horticultural Trades Association commented that there is a demand for garden centres to be open on Easter Sunday with 47% of those they questioned thinking the stores should be able to open. Andrew Maxted from the HTA said that people have many time constraints and that Easter Sunday being at the beginning of the gardening season represented the perfect time to be open.