Christmas sales joy for Scots garden centre firm Dobbies

Founded by James Dobbie in 1865, the group has 40 garden centres throughout the UK. Picture: Jeff Holmes
Founded by James Dobbie in 1865, the group has 40 garden centres throughout the UK. Picture: Jeff Holmes
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Garden centre operator Dobbies has hailed a strong festive trading performance helped by record sales of real Christmas trees.

In an update, the Midlothian-headquartered firm which and runs 40 sites throughout the UK, said like-for-like sales were 8 per cent higher year-on-year and 1 per cent above the level achieved in 2016.

Total sales for the six weeks to 30 December amounted to £24.1 million, up 21 per cent on the same period a year earlier. Footfall was 6 per cent higher, year-on-year, while the group notched up record restaurant sales.

Chief executive Graeme Jenkins said: “Our Christmas trading performance was underpinned by strong conversion, as customers responded positively to the re-ranging of favourite products and the launch of exciting new ranges. In addition, the improvements we have made to our hospitality offer, including to our Santa grottos, have been very well received by customers.”

Chairman Andrew Bracey added: “Dobbies’ Christmas trading results are a credit to the hard work of Graeme and the team. With this critical trading period following closely after the acquisition and successful integration of six new centres, we are very pleased with the progress that has been made.”

The group added that cash margin was “significantly ahead” of last year and 2016.