Sainsbury’s eyes fresh growth with garden centre tie-up

gardenSainsbury’s is aiming to dig up a whole new customer base through a partnership with Dobbies garden centres which will give those with green fingers access to over 3,000 products, ranging from ambient and chilled food to fresh and frozen produce.

The partnership will launch at Dobbies’ Edinburgh garden centre later this month and also see Sainsbury’s supply Dobbies stores with other grocery, household and toiletry products.

Founded in 1865 by James Dobbie, the chain is owned by a holding group led by Midlothian Capital Partners and Hattington Capital. The group bought the business off Sainsbury’s arch-rival Tesco in 2016 for £217m, although the latter always kept the two operations separate.

In May last year, Dobbies acquired 37 stores from Wyevale Garden Centres, doubling its reach and becoming the biggest garden centre in the UK with 69 outlets nationwide.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dobbies chief executive Graeme Jenkins reckons the partnership is an “excellent fit”, insisting that the two retailers have a shared goal of “offering the best to our customers”.

He added: “By complementing our existing garden centre ranges with a comprehensive food and grocery offer, we will offer our customers a convenient solution for their grocery needs. We look forward to launching our first new look food hall at Edinburgh in late July.”

Sainsbury’s business development director Mike Luck said: “We’re always looking for new ways to bring our distinctive, high quality products to more customers.

“This opportunity with Dobbies will bring a fantastic choice of food and grocery products to convenient locations for lots of shoppers, helping them shop for what they need quickly and conveniently.”

Dobbies offers a two-tier loyalty programme. Dobbies Club is free to join, with members getting one point for every £1 spent which is then turned into money-back vouchers; Dobbies Club Plus costs £12 a year but offers two free hot drinks in the restaurant every month, 10% off plants, bulbs and seeds all year round, as well as two points for every £1 spent, and exclusive member offers and promotions.

Sainsbury’s has not revealed details of whether Dobbies will join the Nectar loyalty programme, which it has owned since 2018.

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