Scottish garden centre chain buys two branches from Dobbies

Dobbies Garden Centres has sold two of its smallest sites – Kinross and Cumbernauld – to an independent family owned group with five locations across central Scotland.

Dobbies is offloading its Cumbernauld and Kinross branches as it focuses on destination sites. Picture: Scott Louden.
Dobbies is offloading its Cumbernauld and Kinross branches as it focuses on destination sites. Picture: Scott Louden.

Edinburgh-headquartered Dobbies, which describes itself as the UK’s leading garden centre operator, has offloaded the two branches to Caulders, whose network encompasses Mugdock, Kirkintilloch, Braidbar, Erskine, and Cupar.

All 43 Dobbies team members at Kinross and Cumbernauld will transfer to Caulders, and the sale is expected to complete this month, with the centres reopening as Caulders Garden Centres soon after.

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The larger garden centre firm, which following the sale has 38 outlets across Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, said the disposal ties in with its broader strategic growth plans.

Dobbies chief executive Graeme Jenkins said: “We are pleased to have agreed the sale of our two smallest centres to Caulders, one of Scotland’s leading and most experienced independent garden centre operators.

“We would like to thank our fantastic colleagues at these centres and wish them well for the next stage of their career under Caulders’ ownership.

Jenkins added: “The sale of these two centres is in line with Dobbies’ wider growth and expansion strategy as we focus on growing our stall with larger destination garden centres.”

Caulders MD Colin Barrie commented: “We are looking forward to welcoming our new team members to the Caulders family, and to working with them to develop these fantastic garden centres over the years to come.

“There are superb teams at both Kinross and Cumbernauld who have created successful garden centres for their local communities. The centres are a great fit for us and a welcome addition to our family business.”

Founded by James Dobbie in 1865, Dobbies was acquired by a group of investors led by Midlothian Capital Partners Limited and Hattington Capital LLP from Tesco for £217 million in June 2016. The supermarket had bought it in 2007.

In 2018 Dobbies acquired six new centres including Woodcote Green, the third-largest garden centre in the UK.

Last month it released a Christmas trading update for the six weeks to 30 December.

There was a year-on-year jump of about a fifth in total sales to £24.1m, while like-for-like sales were 8 per cent higher. Footfall was up 6 per cent.

Chairman Andrew Bracey said at the time: “We are very pleased with the progress that has been made.”