DOBBIES Garden Centres has offloaded two outlets to family-run rival Caulders for £2 million, writes Scott Wright.

Midlothian-based Dobbies said the deal to sell the freeholds of two of its smallest outlets, in Kinross and Cumbernauld, was in line with its strategy to build a destination garden centre business.

All 43 Dobbies staff who work at the outlets will transfer to Caulders, which now has a portfolio of seven garden centres. Caulders currently operates outlets in Mugdock, Kirkintilloch, Braidbar, Erskine and Cupar, and it expects to open its latest additions under its own banner after their acquisition is completed this month.

Colin Barrie, managing director of Caulders, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming our new team members to the Caulders family, and to working with them to develop these fantastic garden centres over the years to come.

“There are superb teams at both Kinross and Cumbernauld who have created successful garden centres for their local communities. The centres are a great fit for us and a welcome addition to our family business.”

Dobbies, which has around 40 stores, was acquired by private equity firm Midlothian Capital Partners, with Hattington Capital, from Tesco for £217 million in 2016.

Graeme Jenkins, chief executive of Dobbies, said: “We are pleased to have agreed the sale of our two smallest centres to Caulders, one of Scotland’s leading and most experienced independent garden centre operators. We would like to thank our fantastic colleagues at these centres and wish them well for the next stage of their career under Caulders’ ownership.”

He added: “The sale of these two centres is in line with Dobbies’ wider growth and expansion strategy as we focus on growing our stall with larger destination garden centres.”