In This Issue
Much loved industry figure passes away after cancer battle
OBE's for Colin Squire and John Athwal
Rachel Doyle of Arboretum scoops Retail Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award
Bunnings UK boss to take a three month break
New Year Greetings to all our readers
When will the For Sale sign go up at Wyevale GCs?
So what went on behind closed doors at the Wyevale suppliers meeting.?
Rising Stars 2017 - The final 12
Owners of garden centre face £21,000 bill after selling 'dangerous' items
Wyevale Garden Centres announces shift away from acquisitions
Wyevale Garden Centres named on 'worst to work for' list
Sad news - Alistair Lorimer dies
Durston Garden Products HOLD prices for 2018
New display ideas, new products, new suppliers at Bunnings first UK garden centre - GTN Xtra picture exclusive
Retail ops restructured as going gets tough for Wyevale GCs
All eyes will be on how Wyevale GCs plans to replace 'unsustainable' growth strategy with core business focus
Sir Terry and Mr M...unfinished business at Dobbies?
Mothers Day bonanza as garden centre records are broken across the country
We cleared out Homebase management too quickly, confesses parent company's new CEO
Carol Paris is leaving the HTA
Dobbies "gets together with Ocado to be the best on-line"
Nicholas Marshall is back in the gardening industry as CEO of Dobbies
Newshound finds Mr M has been busy recruiting 'experience'...
Terra Firma props up Wyevale Garden Centres
So this is what a Bunnings Warehouse looks like...
A bittersweet moment says Scott CEO as he announces UK, Europe and Aussie sell-off
Gardman reports £1.5m loss - but earnings soar by 50%
Blue Diamond buys Bridgford Garden Centre
Exponent Private Equity to buy Scotts business in UK, Europe and Australia
Brothers sell £15m Yarnton Nurseries business
Area Representative/Product Merchandiser
Get your own copy of GTN Xtra
Westland win Sword of Excellence with SafeLawn
Is this the smallest garden centre in the UK?
Glee to hold two shows per year from 2018 onwards
Garden retailers sign up to industry Xylella statement
Marshall's strategy for Dobbies to put focus back on plants
Woodlodge win GCA Associate of the year Award
"The Best Glee for Years" - Retailers verdict on this years show
"Xylella is the most serious situation I have come across in 32 years in the industry"
MEP's vote to ban glyphosate completely by 2022
Blisters, tomatoes, over 100 walkers and runners raise over £22k on Garden Re-Leaf Day
Coolings buys Potted Garden Nursery at Maidstone
Exclusive pictures from Bunnings' biggest store yet
New men at the top at Hillier
Xylella fastidiosa: how Italy has tackled the problem
Town & Country is sold to EP Barrus
Supplier rebates to exceed £1.5m for Choice members
"Garden Centre of the Future" planned for new outlet retail centre at Downtown Grantham
Bunnings UK No. 3 - Hemel Hempstead in pictures
Shoplifting costs retailers £800m a year says research
Scotts: We want out of Europe...but we won't give the business away
New trade show will demonstrate how to cater for vegans
Historic exhibition and new branding for Dobbies
Exciting new-build garden centre underway
Bunnings - Homebase - sales drop by £44m
Glyphosate licence approved for 5 years
2017: A year of transition for the garden centre trade
Top 50 most-read stories in GTN Xtra 2017
Situations Vacant
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Sir Terry and Mr M...unfinished business at Dobbies?
No 12 Most Read Story 2017. First published: Sunday 12 March, 2017

Woof woof! Me again… all four legs working and raring to go. But where does your old faithful Newshound start scratching?

Enough of Trump (there are other snooker players) and Brexit (which means what, precisely?), there must be far juicier bones to chew on, if only one could find the right trail…

Hang on, what’s this? A hastily scribbled Post-it from ’im upstairs suggesting one should be pointing one’s tracker kit northwards in the region of Liverpool and Edinburgh.

Liverpool…home of the Premier League’s current top goal scorers… but I guess the boss isn’t sending me to watch football. Merseyside also happens to be the home turf of B&M, those very cheap (or should one say ‘best value’) and just as cheerful discounters who have opened more stores in the past year than I’ve had hot dinners. (Sorry, boss, but you forgot the tripe again).

And Edinburgh? That’s where Dobbies the garden centre chain lives, under shiny new management, now including the not-so-new Mr N Marshall (of whom more later), who in the past week was installed as the CEO to replace John Cleland.

So what have they got to do with each other? Well, here’s a clue. A certain Knight of the Realm who once ran Tesco, which once owned Dobbies, is now chairman of B&M (tee-hee, it’s Leahy!). And the word on the street is that the buyers from Dobbies and B&M have been working closely together of late. Coincidence, that, wouldn’t you say?

Now, it could be, of course, that they just like taking coffee together. But I have a teeny weeny hunch they might be more than just café society pals.

Let’s see…Dobbies needs to be able to compete with the big boys at Wyevale GCs, who operate more than four times as many garden centres and enjoy the extra buying clout that goes with them.  Meanwhile, B&M, whose revenues sailed past £2 billion a year ago, operates from 533 UK stores, having opened at least 34 in the past year (one loses count) and signalled an ambition to get to 850 in not too many years from now.

Now that carries the kind of buying clout Dobbies could make use of, not to mention the two massive distribution centres in which B&M might have a spare sq.m or two right now.

And Sir Terry Leahy, with his intimate knowledge of both parties, may well have seen how mutual benefits could be engineered.

If B&M also intends to make more of the gardening business in its stores, then staying close to Dobbies could be quite useful (no, make that very useful).

A Dobbies presence in B&M stores where there is not a Dobbies garden centre nearby? A few useful percentage points on the margin for Dobbies when buying core brands?

Who knows…I don’t, you don’t….but a resurgent Mr Marshall might be thinking about the possibilities.

Mr M, you will recall, was in the queue for Homebase before the Bunnings acquisition. It’s well-known that he is itching to get back to mainstream garden centre action, having had to let go of The Garden Centre Group (Wyevale ) when Terra Firma flashed the cash.

Sir Terry likes Dobbies (it was he who persuaded Tesco to buy them), and Mr M will quickly grow to love them, I’m sure. If they were to get their heads together, 'Sir Terry meets M' could be a double-act worth wagging my tail for…

For now, though, a lie-down beckons….woof woof!

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