Shropshire Star

93 jobs safe as two Shropshire garden centres taken over by Dobbies

Almost 100 jobs have been preserved after two Shropshire garden centres were bought by Dobbies.

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The entrance to Moreton Park Garden Centre next to the A5. Photo: Google

The company has completed the acquisition of 31 garden centres from Wyevale, including branches at Moreton Park near Oswestry and in Telford.

Dobbies already has one branch in Shropshire next to the A5 Bayston Hill Roundabout in Shrewsbury.

The deal has been done for an undisclosed sum, with 40 staff members at Telford and 53 at Moreton Park seeing their jobs remain intact.

Moreton Park - which Wyevale bought from Shropshire Leisure Group in 2014 - is next to the A5 at Gledrid Roundabout near Chirk, while Telford Garden Centre is off Station Road in Donnington.

Moreton Garden Centre pictured in 2008

Dobbies has also bought the Wyevale centre in Shenstone. But the ownership of the Wyevale centres in Shipley and Albrighton will remain unchanged.

Graeme Jenkins, Dobbies Garden Centres CEO said: "We are delighted to be acquiring the Moreton Park and Telford centres and look forward to welcoming the teams at both to the Dobbies family."

The transaction with Dobbies is the third Wyevale has done following the sale of five centres, plus a single site sale, to its rival in October 2018.

In total, 1,400 jobs will be transferred across the 31 gardening centres.

Latest in line of sales

Until last year, Wyevale was the UK's largest garden centre chain with 145 branches ranging from local horticultural centres to major leisure destination venues.

However the latest transaction means Wyevale has now managed to sell off 85 stores since first revealing sell-off plans in May 2018.

One of the first Wyevale centres to be sold was Percy Thrower's Garden Centre in Shrewsbury, which was sold to Blue Diamond in July last year.

Following the sale to Dobbies this week , Wyevale said it remains a top three gardening retailer in the UK with 60 centres and a further four centres that are operating under licence.

“We are pleased to have agreed the sale of a portfolio of our centres to Dobbies Garden Centres,” Wyeve chief operating officer Anthony Jones said.

“We would like to thank all of our garden centre colleagues for their contribution to Wyevale Garden Centres and wish them well for the next stage of their growth and development with Dobbies.

“I am delighted with our strong start to the year and am excited about trading for the rest of the main gardening season.

“Meanwhile, we also continue to evaluate a wide range of options as part of our ongoing sale process.”

The announcement came after Wyevale reported strong trading in the opening quarter, with sales increasing by 26 per cent year on year.