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New store openings lift annual sales for Dobbies

NEW store openings helped to lift Dobbies Garden Centres to an 8.7 per cent rise in revenue. Stripping out new stores, sales fell by 0.8 per cent after harsh winter

The company owned by supermarket giant Tesco - saw sales for the year to the end of February 2011 hit s112 million.

During the period Dobbies added outlets at Shepton Mallet in Somerset and Lisburn, Northern Ireland plus expanded the Aberdeen store.

A centre at Braehead in Glasgow only began trading at the tail-end of the financial year.

Excluding new store openings, sales for the year were down 0.8 per cent although price rises pushed gross margins up to 51.5 per cent against 50.9 per cent a year earlier.

Pre-tax profits for the year were s9.9 million, up slightly from the s9.7 million a year earlier, which was said to reflect a difficult winter trading period.

Since March Dobbies has opened sites at Livingston, West Lothian, Ashford in Kent, Carlisle with Peterborough and Liverpool expected to begin trading before the winter.

Planning applications have also been submitted for stores in East Kilbride and Gillingham, Kent.

Tesco agreed in 2008 to provide Dobbies with a 10-year loan facility for a maximum of s150 million, which is non-interest bearing.

Dobbies has s96 million left to draw down on that facility.

The highest paid director at Dobbies, likely to be chief executive James Barnes, took a 12.9 per cent drop in total salary from s317,000 last year to s276,000.

The directors recommended no full year dividend payment and no performance bonus.

Expected share dividend yields for the year to February 28, 2011 stands at 3.5 per cent, down from 3.9 per cent last year.

Dobbies also merged its defined benefits pension scheme with the Tesco pension scheme during the 2010 financial year, which saw Tesco make a contribution of s457,000 to the scheme to cover liabilities outlined last year.

Source : Scott McCulloch -

10 August 2011
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