Dobbies uses Horticulture Week top 100 as benchmark

Dobbies Garden Centres chairman Andrew Bracey says study of Horticulture Week's annual top 100 garden centres analysis has helped him understand the sector.

Bracey's Midlothian Capital bought Dobbies from Tesco for £218m in June, outbidding rivals including Terra Firma by £10m-plus.

Bracey told The Times: "If you look at the top 100 garden centre stores, many of them are owned by independent families. They are great and there is absolutely nothing wrong with them but they will get rolled up as a sector. Dobbies is a very good platform from which to grow in this way."

He said looking at the annual HW analysis: "average sale of the top 40 garden centres is over £8m/year", while Dobbies is £4.4m a store and "could do better".

Bracey has visited centres such as Scotsdale to find out more about the sector.

He said 35-store Dobbies is "profitable" and "less than half the capital in the business is debt" with "excess cashflow" and a "strong investment plan".

Bracey said Dobbies is not in Norwich, Hampshire, Wiltshire, with only one in Somerset, for instance, adding: "I hope we can find some sites."

He wants to extend categories with Criterium Cycles concession at Edinburgh an example, as well as Lakeland, Joules, Cotswold, Maidenhead Aquatics and soft play, but products have to stay "adjacent to gardening and not push too far".

The Midlothian name is because Dobbies headquarters are in Lasswade, Midlothian.

Bracey said the "lovely business" has a "strong heritage" and "hasn't had that much focus from Tesco" and "could be better run with a better range".


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

What new vegetables will gardeners be growing in 2018?

What new vegetables will gardeners be growing in 2018?

Next year is Fleuroselect year of the chilli pepper and Thompson & Morgan and Mr Fothergill's have ranges around the hot vegetable, with a new way of promoting sales.

Garden centre building: what's going up?

Garden centre building: what's going up?

After a lull in new builds, 2018 could see a slight resurgence in garden centres being erected.

Retail seed: crowded market for 2018

Retail seed: crowded market for 2018

Thompson & Morgan is refocusing on the garden centre seed market, hoping to win back business from Mr Fothergill's, which has expanded during T&M's long sale process.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 100 GARDEN CENTRES

Our exclusive ranking of garden centre performance by annual turnover. 

Garden Centre Prices

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world
 

Read more Peter Seabrook articles

Neville Stein

Business advice from Neville Stein, MD of business consultancy Ovation
 

Read latest articles