Dobbies asks for supplier refunds

Dobbies has joined Wyevale Garden Centres in asking for money back from its grower suppliers after what it describes as “a difficult year” in garden retailing.

The Scottish garden centre chain, which is about to be bought by either Wyevale-owner Sir Tom Hunter or Tesco, is leaning on suppliers for one per cent of cash paid for stock to be returned at the end of the season. A grower, who did not want to be named, said: “When you shake on a deal that should be it. Suppliers shouldn’t be lent on to cover problems within their business. It leaves growers in a difficult position. We have to decide ethically whether we want to do it or not.” Dobbies head of buying Susan Moore said: “We regularly review our margin requirements and this is not something new.” The Midlothian-based 20-plus centre chain had profits of £2.5m on turnover of £40m in the six months to 30 April. Wyevale Garden Centres demanded 1.5 per cent of sales cash back from suppliers two months ago (HW, 15 June).

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