Scottish garden centre chain Dobbies becomes £300m business as sales blossom

The Midlothian-headquartered company now has an estate comprising 69 stores. Picture: Dobbies
The Midlothian-headquartered company now has an estate comprising 69 stores. Picture: Dobbies
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Garden centre chain Dobbies has seen its growth spurt pay off with underlying sales topping £300 million after becoming the UK’s biggest player.

Reporting its latest annual results, the Lasswade-based group said like-for-like store sales had performed strongly with an increase of 5 per cent together with a 6 per cent hike in “customer basket size”.

The firm is gearing up for one of its busiest trading periods. Picture: Dobbies

The firm is gearing up for one of its busiest trading periods. Picture: Dobbies

It pointed to a “particularly strong” performance in its core plants and gardening business as well as in its food halls, which have expanded the range of produce on offer.

Accounts for the 12 months to 24 February show that total sales were up 12 per cent to £166 million. During the year, the group acquired six sites and disposed of two “non-core” garden centres.

Acquisition and associated restructuring costs amounted to £3.3m, which are considered non-recurring to the operations of the business.

Since the end of the reporting period, Dobbies has acquired an additional 31 garden centres south of the Border from Wyevale, bringing the estate to 69 stores with underlying sales of about £300m – double the level when the business was acquired from Tesco in 2016.

Encouraged

Chairman Andrew Bracey said: “We are delighted with the continued strong performance with overall sales up 12 per cent and like-for-like sales up 5 per cent. We are also very encouraged by the progress made in our newly-acquired garden centres.

“The integration of the new centres is moving at pace and we look forward to providing market leading garden centres for our customers across the length and breadth of the country.”

Chief executive Graeme Jenkins added: “Dobbies has delivered a strong performance this year, as we continue to differentiate our retail and hospitality offerings.

“Our trading performance is testament to the hard work of the team and we are well positioned to enjoy a successful Christmas season. We are continuing to invest across the estate to ensure our customers enjoy the best shopping experience we can offer at every Dobbies garden centre.”

The business, which was founded by James Dobbie in Renfrew in 1865, was acquired by a consortium led by Midlothian Capital Partners and Hattington Capital in 2016.

During the 12 months to 24 February, underlying operating profit rose by 35 per cent.

READ MORE: Dobbies doubles up with garden centre swoop