Dobbies CEO Nicholas Marshall has outlined a three-year plan designed to take the chain more upmarket and restore its focus as a quality retailer of plants.
Staff in Dobbies stores told GTN Xtra last week that their regional managers had relayed Marshall’s ideas for doubling the group’s plant sales, bringing back AB demographic customers lost during the years of Tesco ownership and doubling income from concessions.
Plant managers will be allowed to choose which plants to stock via an online ordering system and will be accountable for the condition of their retail displays.
The familiar ‘Good, Better Best’ product strategy used by suppliers and retailers will be re-balanced across Dobbies from 70% Good, 25% Better and 5% Best to 25% Good, 50% Better and 25% Best, GTN Xtra learned.
Online sources suggest Marshall is disappointed with the chain’s shops and layouts and will undertake a programme of change early next year, with new-look planterias a priority in many. Changes are already under way in some stores for the autumn and Christmas offerings.
Marshall and new owners Midlothian Capital Partners, who acquired the business for £217 a year ago, are also reported to be keen to buy new garden centres, especially in the south – a process stalled during the Tesco years.
As previously announced, a Dobbies online sales service in partnership with Ocado, supplied via a model garden centre at the distributor’s Dartford warehouse, is scheduled to go live next Spring.