'Horror' at tree prices in garden centres: Christmas tree growers upset at mark-ups of 400%, writes David Nicholson-Lord

CHRISTMAS trees are being sold at a profit of more than 400 per cent by up-market garden centres, it was claimed yesterday.

The British Christmas Tree Growers' Association said it was 'horrified' by the mark-ups, which mean that a 6ft Norway spruce, which may cost only pounds 5 to pounds 6 wholesale, is retailing for up to pounds 32.

Tony Richardson, secretary of the association, said the biggest mark-ups had been reported from garden centres in central London. Supermarkets and garden centres in the country were selling them more cheaply. A typical retail price for a 6ft tree is about pounds 10.

A survey of garden centres by the Independent has found prices ranging from pounds 6.99 to pounds 19.95 for a 6ft Norway spruce, the 'traditional' Christmas tree which accounts for about 70 per cent of the 5 million trees sold in Britain each Christmas.

The cheapest trees were at B & Q, the do-it-yourself chain, where a Norway spruce between 4ft and 7ft high costs pounds 6.99.

The most expensive were garden centres near the centre of London, where prices were up to pounds 19.95. Trees were also cheaper in the West Country and the North-east of England.

According to the Institute of Trading Standards Administration, there is no limit on what retailers can charge for products as long as the prices are fairly displayed and customers are not misled. 'If you can get pounds 1,000 for a biro, you are entitled to do it,' it said.

However, Maj-Gen Richardson said growers were upset because high prices could persuade people to buy artificial trees, which have claimed a growing share of the Christmas market: about 2 million are sold each year. The association claims real trees are more environmentally friendly than artificial ones because they 'soak up' carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming, as they grow.

Many people are also paying more for their trees this year because they have turned to new species which retain their needles better.

A typical 4ft Norway spruce has 150,000 needles, many of which end up on the carpet as the tree dries out. According to the Consumers' Association, Nordmann and Noble firs hold their needles better, but can cost twice as much as the Norway spruce.

Britain could be heading for a record number of home-grown Christmas trees this year. Because of a slump in imports, which are mainly from Denmark, British trees will account for an estimated 4.2 million of the 5 million sold, 1 million more than two years ago. Last year sterling devaluation made imports more expensive. The Danes are also sending more trees to Eastern Europe.

----------------------------------------------------------------- TABLE: GARDEN CENTRE PRICES FOR A SIX-FOOT NORWAY SPRUCE ----------------------------------------------------------------- Hampstead Garden Centre, north London pounds 19.95 The Chelsea Gardener, London pounds 17.95 Fulham Palace Garden Centre, west London pounds 16 Yates Garden Centre, Altrincham, Cheshire pounds 13.50 Findlay Clark, Aberdeen pounds 11.99 Armitage's, Huddersfield pounds 10.99 (6-7ft) High Trees, Leeds pounds 10.95 Notcutts, Solihull pounds 10.45 Dobbies, Cumbernauld pounds 9.99 Clays, Sunderland pounds 8.94 Bernaville Nurseries, Exeter pounds 8.50 B&Q pounds 6.99 -----------------------------------------------------------------

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
health
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
News
Sir Chris Hoy won six Olympic golds - in which four events?
news
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
News
Lars Ulrich of Metallica performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
people
Arts and Entertainment
film
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recruitment Consultant - IT

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Computer Futures has been est...

IT Technician (1st/2nd line support) - Leatherhead, Surrey

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Technician (1st/2nd line support)...

Business Analyst

£300 - £350 per day: Orgtel: Job Title: Business Analyst Rate: £300 - £350 per...

C# .NET Developer

£290 - £291 per day + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Manchester C#.NET ...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform