Wyevale sells 5 of its largest centres to Dobbies

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Wyevale Garden Centres has announced the sale of five of its largest properties to Dobbies Garden Centres as it continues the rapid offloading of its estate.

It has reached an agreement to sell Woodbridge, Woodlands, Heighley Gate, Huntington and Gloucester to rival garden retailer Dobbies.

This will see 400 staff working in five of Wyevale’s biggest centres transition to Dobbies, which will now trade from 39 locations across the UK.

In 2016 Wyevale is understood to have tabled an offer for Dobbies after its former owner Tesco put it up for sale, losing out to a group of investors led by Midlothian Capital Partners and Hattington Capital who bought it for £217 million.

In May Wyevale flew in specialist business property advisors Christie & Co to handle the sales process, which will see all of Wyevale’s 145 garden centres including 144 restaurants and 700 concessions be sold.

Nine of Wyevale’s largest garden centres were sold to rival Blue Diamond Garden Centres in July, and a further 13 have been sold to individual buyers in the last two months.

The sale is expected to reach completion in October, and the centres will reportedly re-open soon after under the Dobbies fascia.

“The acquisition of these five centres is in line with our strategic growth plan for Dobbies,” Dobbies chief executive Graeme Jenkins said.

“We are looking forward to welcoming our new team members and to working with them to develop the centres over the years to come.”

Christie & Co’s managing director Darren Bond added: “Since the start of the WGC sale process, the opportunity to run one, a small group or a portfolio of garden centres has ignited interest within the sector and beyond.

“We are delighted to have supported the sale of these five centres to Dobbies, meaning we have now exchanged on 28 sites as part of the sale process.”

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