Blue Diamond boss says Dobbies value price policy will "drop down prices in the market"

Blue Diamond garden centres MD Alan Roper has criticised rival chain, Tesco-owned Dobbies for cutting margins and being the "big bad wolf" of garden retail.

Speaking at a HTA conference round table event, Roper said Dobbies switch to a 30 per cent cheaper "gardening just got cheaper" price policy "will drop down prices in the Market."

He added that "luxurious" industry margins are "going to change". Roper said targeting your socio-economic customer group, avoiding "downmarket concessions" that are "homogenising" the industry and scaling up to mitigate price drops were strategies to beat Dobbies and Garden Centre Group.

Roper said that Dobbies chief executive James Barnes was the "big bad wolf and I'm the little piggy but making my house out of brick through points of difference and targeting the consumer."

Barnes said the garden centre industry was the most fragmented retail sector in the UK and will remain so with smaller centres having many USPs.

He added that a move to value was the biggest shift his business had shown this year. He said differentiation, personalisation, simplification of offer and "unconditional giving" - for instance free coffee refills were other ways Dobbies had beat "what we've been through this year".


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