Wet summer washes away profits at Dobbies

THE wettest summer for 100 years wiped more than 30 per cent off Dobbies’ profits as the garden centre chain resorted to special offers to entice shoppers.
Dobbies: Profit slump. Picture: Neil HannaDobbies: Profit slump. Picture: Neil Hanna
Dobbies: Profit slump. Picture: Neil Hanna

The Lasswade-based retailer, which is owned by supermarket giant Tesco, said that the “adverse weather” pushed pre-tax profits down to £7.3 million in the year to 24 February, compared with £10.5m in the previous 12 months.

Turnover edged ahead by 0.7 per cent year-on-year to £137.4m, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Dobbies said: “The garden centre market was impacted by the adverse weather in the year under review, with the summer of 2012 being the wettest on record for 100 years.

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“The company reacted to this by continuing to diversify and differentiate its product range and offering strong promotions to customers.

“The company continued to invest in central systems and resources and new stores.”

The chain has opened branches in Inverness and King’s Lynn in Norfolk since its year-end. The Inverness shop on the Inshes retail park is the chain’s first outlet to share a location with parent company Tesco.

Dobbies now has 34 garden centres in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, including 15 north of the Border.

Tesco took Dobbies private in 2008 following a year-long takeover battle involving Ayrshire entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter.

The chain was founded in 1865 by James Dobbie, a keen gardener who was police chief constable in Renfrew.

The business floated on the stock market in 1997.