Dobbies appoints retail operations director from Australian supermarket

Garden centre chain Dobbies is ramping up efforts to more than treble the number of its stores by appointing a retail operations director.

Dobbies' garden centre in Aberdeen - image:Dobbies
Dobbies' garden centre in Aberdeen - image:Dobbies
Working alongside chief executive James Barnes, Michael Hughes will drive the group’s ambition of opening 100 stores with £1bn of sales in the next few years. The former general manager of operations for the Australian grocer Coles has also held managerial posts at Asda.

A spokeswoman for Tesco, which owns Dobbies, said the company was unable to give further details on his role because "we’re in a closed period and won’t be releasing expansion updates until the year’s end".

Dobbies added £200,000 to its pre-tax profits this year, to take its total to just shy of £10m. Total sales rose 8 per cent to £112m despite a choppy trading period over winter.

Dobbies recently opened stores in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, and Lisburn, Northern Ireland, Meanwhile a centre in Glasgow opened at the end of the financial year. Other recently opened stores are in Livingston, West Lothian, Ashford in Kent and Carlisle. The company has submitted planning applications for stores elsewhere.

Three years ago Tesco agreed an interest-free 10-year loan for up to £150m to help Dobbies expand.

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