Dobbies acquires five garden centres in £25m boost

Garden centre group Dobbies is flexing its muscles south of the Border after securing a deal expected to add £25 million to the retailer's turnover and boost its estate to almost 40 centres.

Dobbies is expected to boost revenues by £25m with five sites bought from Wyevale. Picture: Scott Louden

Dobbies, headquartered in Lasswade, near Edinburgh, has agreed to purchase a portfolio of five Wyevale Garden Centres sites in England.

The portfolio comprises some of the company’s largest centres, at Gloucester, Heighley Gate, Huntingdon, Woodbridge and Woodlands.

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According to trade publication Horticulture Week, the centres have an estimated combined turnover of £25m, bringing Dobbies’ expected revenue to some £175m.

The deal will see the number of centres operated by the Scots company swell to 39 across the UK, making it the country’s second biggest garden centre group, behind Wyevale.

Some 400 staff members will be transferred to Dobbies as part of the acquisition.

Graeme Jenkins, who was appointed chief executive of Dobbies in July, said: “The acquisition of these five centres is in line with our strategic growth plan for Dobbies.

“We are looking forward to welcoming our new team members and to working with them to develop the centres over the years to come.”

The sale is expected to complete by the end of the month, with the centres reopening as Dobbies soon after.

The deal is part of an ongoing sales process which has already seen Wyevale shed 23 centres, including nine centres to Guernsey-headquartered Blue Diamond in July.

Following the completion of this latest sale, Wyevale will have 118 garden centres remaining.

Wyevale said it had received a significant number of offers for all or part of its remaining business from national, regional and financial operators, as well as local entrepreneurs.

Roger Mclaughlan, chief executive of Wyevale, said: “We are pleased to have agreed the sale of five of our largest centres to Dobbies, one of the UK’s biggest and most experienced garden centre operators.

“We would like to thank our great colleagues at these centres, who have been central to our turnaround in the past few years and wish them well for the next stage of their growth and development under Dobbies’ ownership.”

Founded by James Dobbie in 1865, Dobbies has since grown to serve more than 16 million customers annually.

In April, the company reported its highest sales over a weekend, as revenues between Friday 20 and Sunday 22 April beat all historic records.

The firm said sales of BBQs and outdoor furniture soared, up 70 per cent and 50 per cent respectively, against the same weekend in 2017.

Formerly owned by Tesco, the firm was acquired in the summer of 2016 by a group of investors led by Midlothian Capital Partners and Hattington Capital.