Survey sees strength in farm-and-ranch retail

A recent survey of farm-and-ranch retailers shows some consistently reassuring results for the sector -- especially when it comes to expectations for the second quarter. 

The Robert W. Baird & Co. "Farm and Ranch Supply Retailer Survey" for the first quarter of 2014 revealed that most merchandise categories showed growth in the January-to-March period. But spring seasonal category sales -- lawn and garden live goods and lawn and garden hard goods, as well as riding lawnmowers -- were soft, not surprising given the cool temperatures in March. 

Looking into the second quarter, retailers surveyed expect sales to be better or equal to the year-ago period. Some 8% of respondents are looking for double-digit percentage sales gains: 

• 10% growth: 8%

• 7% to 9% growth: 15%

• 4% to 6% growth: 23%

• 1% to 3% growth: 38%

• Flat: 16%

Also from the survey, 42% of farm-and-ranch retail respondents described better-than-expected sales trends during the first quarter.

The Baird Farm and Ranch Supply Survey is conducted quarterly. It includes 250 retail locations, representing $1 billion in annual sales.

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