Pricewatch Daily

 

You could grab yourself a cut-price barbecue at the tail end of the summer, but will it see the sun, asks Conor Pope

Summer sizzling prices on garden furniture

-Pricewatch has a friend who waits until Easter Monday ever year to buy his Easter eggs because retailers, desperate to shift suddenly undesirable stock, are willing to knock more than 70 per cent off the original price. He stoutly refutes charges of eccentric meanness on the grounds that the chocolate is exactly the same and possibly tastes even nicer because of its keen price.

There is certainly value to be found by buying as a season ends, and not just when it comes to something as ephemeral as a chocolate egg. Canny shoppers who buy their Christmas cards, trees (fake ones, rather than real, obviously) and decorations post-Christmas rather than in the frenzied days of early December and carefully store them in the attic can knock hundreds off their annual spend.

There are also substantial savings to be made at the tail end of the summer.

Each May, the country’s biggest DIY stores roll out their barbecues, garden furniture, clippers and mowers in an effort to convince us that this summer will be different from last.

The posters and promotions suggest that this year will see us spend our days pottering around the garden doing minor chores and sipping cool stubbies as the steaks sizzle on the barbie.

And each year, after a brief flurry of interest from optimistic shoppers in the early part of the summer, the barbecues and garden furniture start to grow distinctly cobwebby through July and August, as the rains persistently bounce hard on the DIY outlets’ corrugated roofs.

According to industry sources, shops that specialise in outdoor furniture and barbecues are unlikely to be too badly burned by yet another bad summer, as they work under the assumption that the summers here will be bad every year and are only likely to get caught out once a decade. However, they still have to shift the summer stock at knock-down prices.

A Sahara Three-Burner Roaster Barbecue that has an RRP of €429.99 is selling for €269.99 in Woodie’s this week.

The shop also has a five-piece Gateleg set of wooden garden furniture from Havana down from €399 to €199. A Turnbury seven-piece hardwood patio set which cost €599 at the beginning of the summer costs €299 today, while a Wicker gazebo which once cost €300 now costs €130 – although in truth that might still be too much for many people.

Lawnmowers, decking and all manner of other summery stuff is similarly marked down in Woodie’s and in Atlantic Homecare, where the names on some of the products might be different but the deep discounts are the same.

-It is always possible that you won’t have to wait until next year to take advantage of your new purchases. We contacted Met Éireann earlier this week to enquire about the possibility of an Indian summer to coincide with kids going back to school.

We were told to expect cool, wet and blustery weather for the rest of the week, with the slim possibility of some sunshine on Saturday evening, although with temperatures unlikely to get much higher than 18 degrees, it’s unlikely to be warm enough to take the wrapping off the newly purchased decking.

cpope@irishtimes.com

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