Dobbies records most successful Christmas trading period for five years

Dobbies Garden Centres chief executive John Cleland has said Christmas range sales in the five weeks to January 1 were up 9.8% on December 2015.

This was was the firm's most successful Christmas trading period in the last five years.

Live trees had its highest ever sell through and Santa suppers and breakfasts were up 41% and 13% in the company’s restaurants.

January sales performed well with a like-for- like increase of +14% and footfall rose +7% over the month, bucking the retail trend. In addition, internet traffic grew by 127%.

Cleland said: "As the first Christmas trading period under new ownership, I’m delighted with the performance which is a credit to the work that the team have put into new ranges, better value, improved customer service and a new approach to digital engagement.

"The solid start to 2017 is extremely encouraging and represents a strong foundation for our
new three year strategy plan and investment for long term growth."
Dobbies hosts its first national ‘Customer First Always’ conference in February and later in
the month John Cleland is the keynote speaker at Garden Retail Summit 2017.

Cleland said a focus towards on service and better store standards since private investors bought Dobbies from Tesco in July for £217m have helped sales.

Sales under Tesco were £153m a year for the 34-centre group. Tesco had bought the group for £155m in 2007.

Cleland plans to open retail villages of concessions in 21 Dobbies and to upgrade the food offer with more local offerings.

Book now for the Garden Retail Summit 2017 - the leading independent knowledge and networking event for executives. Taking place in London on 23rd February, this year's event will focus on growth, and include the opportunities and challenges of 'brexit', learnings from the latest garden centre developments - and will be opened with a keynote address from John Cleland, CEO, Dobbies.  For more details and tickets go to:

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