More growth to come
Dobbies Garden Centres revealed sales up 13.5 per cent to£68.8 million for the year to October 31, helped by three new centres - in Cirencester, Milton Keynes and Reading that Dobbies bought in July last year - and a strong second half.

Like-for-like sales increased 1.9 per cent and operating profit rose 13.1 per cent to£7.9 million. Pre-tax profit was up 11 per cent to£5.4 million.

The garden centre chain acquired an internet business to facilitate the next phase of its e-commerce strategy. It has also made progress in developing a speciality food offer, which is now an important feature of store formats.

Dobbies chief executive James Barnes said: 'These are good results achieved against a background of often difficult trading conditions. We are putting in place the building blocks that will allow us to raise the growth rate of the business over the coming years.

'We believe we have a strong constitution, with our freehold assets and excellent positioning with respect to consumers that are ever-more interested in the garden, home and environment.'

Barnes said his strategy for the future remains similar to previous years. He aims to position Dobbies as a 'leading niche homes and gardens retailer in the UK' and to develop the horticultural and environmental aspects of the brand to reinforce its position as first choice for plants and gardening.