Stores across the country have posted pleasing pumpkin sales thanks to a bumper harvest and focused buying in the run-up to Halloween 2017.
The warm summer weather, combined with October rainfall, ensured plentiful local supply for many stores.
Lancashire Spar retailer Lawrence Hunt had a record-breaking year, selling 4,700 pumpkins across its 28 stores. With prices starting at £1, the pumpkins were all locally grown and so provided an equally welcoming boost to the local economy, managing director Kevin Hunt said.
Paul Mather of Sherston Post Office and Stores in Wiltshire was also celebrating plump sales after adding pumpkins to his sales mix, following the closure of the local farm shop.
“We decided to dip our toes in for the first time and were pleasantly surprised by the reaction,” Paul said. “I was quite nervous of over-ordering as you definitely don’t want to be left with lots of pumpkins on November 1 but fortunately we were able to do daily orders via a local supplier which reduced the risk.
“Our pumpkins were priced at £1.99 which was more expensive than the multiples to start with, however, as supply started to dwindle in the supermarkets and prices rose, we kept ours the same which people were grateful for. We sold almost 50 and next year we plan to do much more.”
Premier retailer Linda Williams of Broadway Convenience Store in Edinburgh also sold through all of the pumpkins she had bought and recorded strong confectionery sales thanks to in-store Halloween activity and a free facepainter for local children.
The Southern Co-op also said it sold just under 13,000 pumpkins in total this year.
And while pumpkin sales were also juicy at Waitrose, the upmarket supermarket multiple also recorded a 260% rise in sales of gourds as shoppers turned to the unusual seasonal vegetables for Halloween decorations.
“It’s no longer enough to have a lonely pumpkin on the doorstep,” Waitrose horticultural buyer, Samantha Brett said. “Our customers have been inspired by doorstep displays from the US and want to replicate their seasonal show-stopping arrangements.”