Garden centre retailer Dobbies has created a ‘store of the future’ from its existing branch in Atherstone. This is a garden centre that is as much about leisure as pure retail and CEO John Cleland offers his take on what has been done and why the revamped store, a work in progress, looks the way it does.

Practically, this means that this is a ‘self-treating’ supermarket, a restaurant and a place to buy items for your pets, as well as a destination to fill the car boot with hardy perennials. 

It also means a point of difference from the blooming gardening sections of the large DIY players and this store’s position in the middle of a triangle of Midlands motorways ensures a steady footfall from all the local towns and cities.

The move to increase the number of covers in the restaurant from around 250 to more than 600 provides an insight into the direction of travel for garden centres. These are places for days out and for spending free time with the family.