Profits wilt at Dobbies Garden Centres
Dobbies Garden Centres suffered a fall in profits during the year to 26 February, a period which included the sale of the retail chain by its former owner Tesco.
Now owned by a group of investors led by Midlothian Capital Partners and Hattington Capital, Dobbies posted a pre-tax profit of £8.4m in its latest financial year on revenues £151m. That compared to £14.5m on turnover of £153.7m the previous year.
In accounts now filed with Companies House, Dobbies noted that the sale of the business in July 2016 included special dividends of £7.5m paid to Tesco as part of the process. The sale resulted in a restructuring that led to the disposal of £165.5m of property that was then leased back by Dobbies.
Headquartered in Edinburgh, Dobbies has 35 garden centres across Scotland, England and Ireland. It employs nearly 2,800 people.
Footfall across its network of stores was down 1.2 per cent on the previous year, and garden centre transactions were 2.8 per cent lower. Restaurant transactions were 0.7 per cent higher.
"The company's underlying financial performance is expected to continue throughout the next financial period and it is anticipated that the current performance levels will be maintained," directors said in the accounts.
In May of this year, Dobbies signed an agreement with Speciality Stores , a subsidiary of Ocado, to "improve the online offer for our customers".