Dobbies Garden Centres has reported a pre-pandemic turnover of £235m for the 53 weeks ended 1 March 2020, a year-on-year rise of £73.5m. In addition, total sales rose by 51% to £252m in the period.
However, the group also announced a loss before tax for the period of £22.9m, down from a loss of £100,000 in 2019.
The company mainly attributed this to its “ambitious growth strategy,” with £6.9m of the losses incurred through exceptional costs associated with acquisitions. In line with this plan, it acquired a further 31 garden centres and disposed of one none-core asset during the year.
According to the group, the acquisitions led to a step change in the business in both scale and geographical spread, making it the largest garden centre group in the UK.
Dobbies’ pre-pandemic spike in profits when disregarding its acquisition activity is shown in the 212.5% year-on-year increase to its underlying operating profit before exceptional items from £2.4m to £7.5m.
Despite this, the group recognised that Covid-19 has caused a “temporary but significant” impact to its operations since the close of FY20.
It added: “We have modelled scenarios, including a severe downside case on our forecasts, and reverse stress tests on cash flow forecasts. In all instances, the company has demonstrated its ability to meet its liabilities as they fall due.”
Chairman Andrew Bracey said: “We have a clear strategy for growth at Dobbies and we are
encouraged by the progress made during FY19/20. The business has continued to demonstrate its resilience as we navigate the challenges of COVID-19.”
CEO Graeme Jenkins added: “During FY19/20 Dobbies delivered a robust performance through a period of significant change. I would like to thank all of our team members for their support and commitment.
“In line with our strategy, we are continuing to grow and invest in Dobbies. This includes our garden centre network, our customer offer and our team.”