As first mooted at IRX 2017, the leading has this week announced that it has struck a deal with the leading garden retailer Dobbies. The five year deal will see Ocado assist Dobbies in upgrading its online offer and launch nationwide delivery. The move follows its venture with Marie Claire, Fabled, a joint retail venture that has both an online and bricks and mortar retail presence.
The new partnership will see Dobbie’s boost their online sales by being given access to Ocado’s technology and software as well as their UK-wide delivery network. It’s thought by many to be a very savvy move, as online retail in this sector is relatively young the potential is there to grab a substantial and long term section of the market. Speaking about the new venture, James Matthews, the managing director of Ocado General Merchandise said:
“We are pleased to announce this agreement which will enable Dobbies to launch a new online service for their customers, powered by our technological and logistical know-how. The expertise we have gained through operating our current Speciality Stores businesses and our Fabled joint venture with Marie Claire has allowed us to provide a compelling service proposition to Dobbies and we are excited to be working with them to help grow their online presence.”
The move represents the first major deal done by Dobbie’s chief executive Nicholas Marshall who was appointed to the position in March this year. Highly experienced in the horticulture business, Nicholas Marshall is the only person ever in the UK to run three quoted garden centre businesses. His appointment followed the sale of the Dobbies Garden Centres business by Tesco to an investor group headed up by Hattington Capital and Midlothian Capital Partners.
Nicholas Marshall said “Online, excluding food, is now approaching 40% of UK retail sales and rapidly growing. Yet, online garden retailing is just a few percent. The garden centre industry is at least ten years behind the rest of the retail world. The gardening market in the UK is worth £4 billion. The potential is therefore enormous. For us to partner with Ocado, the best online retailer in the UK, is a brilliant opportunity for Dobbies, and its customers.”
Andrew Bracey, chairman of Dobbies was also upbeat about the move: “In our first year of ownership of Dobbies, we are delighted to announce our partnership with Ocado and its general merchandise subsidiary, Speciality Stores to take Dobbies online across the UK. Ocado has an outstanding reputation for service and quality. I am confident that together we can grow a very successful online business for Dobbies across the whole of the UK.”