Dobbies garden centres breaks £100m turnover and aims for £1 billion

Dobbies garden centres plans to be a £1 billion retailer after announcing a 6.2% like-for-like sales increase to £104m in the financial year March 2009 to February 2010.

The Tesco-owned retailer's core garden centre business was up 6.9%, driven by a 10.5% increase in plant sales. Dobbies restaurants, which account for over 20% of the total business, increased by 3.9%.

The company's Farm Foodhalls reported a 4.1% increase while Dobbies' internet business, www.dobbies.com, leapt 37%.

There was also a 33% increase in grow your own fruit and vegetables - bestsellers were tomato and strawberry plants. 

Chicken coops are now in Dobbies' top 20 bestselling lines and Dobbies sold 1,000 chickens in four stores.

Dobbies chief executive James Barnes said:

"Our strength as expert horticulturalists continues to be the foundation for our growth. Our key competitive advantage is being able to place core gardening and quality horticulture at the very heart of our brand, whilst being able to offer our customers a wide and attractive choice of products and services across our other business areas, including garden and conservatory furniture, giftware, homeware and aquatics.

"Our restaurants and Farm Foodhalls performed well, driven in the main by our freshly-baked and other locally sourced products, which customers can enjoy in our restaurants or take home from our Bakery-To-Go range.

"We're also further buoyed by the initial performance of our most environmentally-friendly store to date, which opened in March 2010 in Aberdeen, and is the benchmark from which we will launch all future Dobbies Garden Centres.

"We are working hard to become the UK's first national garden centre brand as well as the UK's leading gardens and homes retailer.  We have ambitious growth plans to be a £1bn business with 100 stores in 10 years - and the company is currently on track to deliver this."

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