12th May 2009 - Dobbies future is healthy as customers grow their own
Dobbies Garden Centres is bucking the consumer trend thanks in part to record sales of ‘Grow Your Own' produce as customers look to save money and eat more healthily.
With 24 stores across Scotland and England, Dobbies has enjoyed £1 million sales of its Grow Your Own range this year to date. This marks an 82% increase in like-for-like sales against the same period in 2008.
Grow Your Own allows many of Dobbies' 10 million-strong customer base to grow salad, vegetables and fruits from home with more than 100,000 tomato plants sold in the last two months alone.
These figures have helped support the firm's recent annual financial results which revealed £97million sales, a 12% rise, while Easter 2009 trade was up 73% on last year, thanks to the later date and warm weather.
Chief executive James Barnes said the positive sales support Dobbies' immediate expansion plans: "Exceptional Grow Your Own sales have helped us achieve a strong start to 2009. This provides us with a firm foundation upon which to further expand the business."
The company has an application in progress for a new £8.5million centre in Aberdeen, due to open in Spring 2010 and a new store at Shepton Mallet, Somerset, the first redevelopment of a Tesco store to a modern garden centre, will open in June this year.
Mr Barnes continued: "We have responded to the surge in demand for Grow Your Own by complimenting new products with demonstrations, workshops and presentations to our customers and local schools. We have plans to expand the range which provides customers with real value for money while building on the rise of environmental consciousness."
The Grow Your Own range consists of salad and vegetables, herbs, soft fruits and fruit trees with new ‘ready to go' products set to be introduced including pre-planted strawberry and herb jars and strawberry hanging baskets.