Dobbies has acquired 31 stores from Wyevale, making it the largest garden centre operator in the UK.

The acquisition gives Dobbies a 69-strong store estate and will take annual sales to over £300m.

The handover of the stores to Dobbies, which includes garden centres in York, Beaconsfield and Leicester, is expected to be completed by June.

The 1,400 employees working at the 31 stores will have their jobs transferred from Wyevale to Dobbies as a result of the acquisition.

This acquisition comes after Dobbies bought five of Wyevale’s garden centres last October.

Wyevale sold a further nine of its outlets to rival Blue Diamond last July, and a further 13 were sold to individual buyers in the months preceding that sale.

Wyevale now has a store estate of 60 garden centres.

Dobbies chair Andrew Bracey said: “We are delighted to have now acquired a total of 37 garden centres from Wyevale.

“Since acquiring Dobbies in 2016 we have doubled it in size, expanded Dobbies’ national footprint and strengthened our position as the UK’s leading garden centre operator. All of this will benefit Dobbies’ customers with broader ranges, national coverage, a leading online offer and great prices.”

Wyevale chief operating officer Anthony Jones added: “We are pleased to have agreed the sale of these centres to Dobbies and look forward to working closely with the Dobbies team as part of the transition. I’d like to thank all of our colleagues at these great centres and wish them well for what I’m confident will be a bright future with Dobbies.”