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.