Garden centre group Dobbies will open the doors to a new small-format store next month.

The shop, on Raeburn Place in Edinburgh, is the latest example of retailers reacting to changes wrought by the coronavirus pandemic. As well as online growth, the outbreak has led to a rise in trade for many neighbourhood stores.

It was a trend already under way before the pandemic. Big names such as B&Q have also piloted smaller shops in urban locations as demand for convenience has grown, and the shift has been accelerated by the health emergency. 

The store will operate under the Little Dobbies fascia. The retailer, which has 68 branches, said that the Little Dobbies proposition “will be horticulturally focused, with a range of convenience gardening products”. 

The shop will carry a curated range including houseplants and pots, gifts and seasonal lines.

Garden centres have acquired destination status, often drawing custom to their restaurants and cafes as much as their product ranges. Little Dobbies will also incorporate a coffee shop and sell takeaway food.

Dobbies chief executive Graeme Jenkins said: “This is an exciting new venture. The store will feature gardening essentials for city-centre residents and will showcase some of the extensive ranges available at our larger stores and at”

Dobbies, established in 1865, was acquired by Tesco in 2007 for £150m. The grocer, subsequently engulfed in crisis, then sold Dobbies to Midlothian Capital Partners – spearheaded by former Ocado chief financial officer Andrew Bracey – and Hattington Capital for £217m in 2016.