Dobbies Garden Centres

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Dobbies Garden Centres Limited
FounderJames Dobbie
HeadquartersLasswade, Midlothian, Scotland, United Kingdom
Area served
Scotland, England and Northern Ireland
Key people
Graeme Jenkins, CEO
OwnersHolding group led by Midlothian Capital Partners and Hattington Capital

Dobbies Garden Centres is a British chain of garden centres.


Dobbies Garden Centre, Aberdeen

The business was founded in 1865 by James Dobbie, who created a seeds business named Dobbie & Co. After being awarded the Royal Warrant for Gardeners and Nurserymen to the Royal Household, the company expanded into a seed catalogue business, where it built up a customer base of 50,000 over the following century.

In 1969 the company expanded out of its Scottish base into England, and was floated on AIM in 1987. Up until 1984 Dobbies continued to operate principally as a seed merchant. It was then bought out by David Barnes, managing director of Waterers. Between 1984 and 1989 Dobbies opened five new garden centres in Scotland.

The company was floated on the Stock Exchange in 1997 and this led to Dobbies expanding their garden centre operations further South into England.[1]

Acquisition by Tesco[edit]

Tesco announced its intention to purchase Dobbies Garden Centres for £155.6 million on 8 June 2007.[2] The deal was confirmed as successful by the board of directors of Tesco on 17 August 2007 when the board announced that they had received 53.1% of shares (or 5,410,457 shares), which confirmed conditions set out in the offer made on 20 June 2007. Although the deal had been confirmed by Tesco the offer remained open to Dobbies shareholders until 20 August 2007.[3]

Tesco raised its holding to 65% in September that year,[4] although Sir Tom Hunter took the company to court in May 2008 in an attempt to avoid further shares in Dobbies being issued, as it would reduce his holding. The legal challenge was unsuccessful,[5] and on 5 June 2008 Tesco announced that it would be compulsorily acquiring the remainder of the shares in Dobbies Garden Centres PLC.[6]

Recent years[edit]

Dobbies now operates 34 garden centres and restaurants in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as several large tourist attractions including Plantasia, in Swansea.

Dobbies Garden Centre, Lasswade

On 10 May 2009, Dobbies announced it had made £1 million sales of its Grow Your Own range in that year to date. 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 previous two months alone. For the year to early 2009, turnover was £97 million.[7]

In 2010, Dobbies opened their first outlet in Northern Ireland,[8] and the store, near Lisburn, opened in September 2010.

Sell off from Tesco[edit]

On 17 June 2016, Tesco sold the company on to a group of investors led by Midlothian Capital Partners and Hattington Capital for £217m.[9][10][11]


  1. ^ "Dobbies Garden Centres". Garden Action. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  2. ^ Jordan, Dearbail (8 June 2007). "Tesco swoops on Dobbies Garden Centres". The Times. London: Times Newspapers. Retrieved 8 June 2007.
  3. ^ "Offer Declared Unconditional in all Respects". Dobbies. 17 August 2007. p. 1. Archived from the original on 26 August 2007. Retrieved 19 August 2007.
  4. ^ "Tesco sees UK sales growth slow". Business. BBC News. 2 October 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
  5. ^ "Tesco buys Hunter's Dobbies stake". BBC News. 21 May 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Compulsory acquisition of outstanding Dobbies Shares". Dobbies. Archived from the original on 28 March 2010.
  7. ^ "It's The Good Life for Dobbies as sales rise". Evening Times. Newsquest Media Group. 11 May 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  8. ^ Lisburn City Council Press Release 20 May 2010: "New Dobbies Garden World for Lisburn" Archived 1 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Tesco sells Dobbies Garden Centres for £217m". BBC. 17 June 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  10. ^ Hopkins, Jonathon (17 June 2016). "Tesco mega-sale of sideshow businesses goes on with £217m disposal of Dobbies Garden Centres". This is Associated Newspapers. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  11. ^ Wood, Zoe; Kollewe, Julia (17 June 2016). "Tesco again scales back 24-hour trading, with 2,000 jobs put at risk". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 18 June 2016.

External links[edit]