Tesco: 66 points for Dave Lewis – No.8 – Dobbies

Today is 59 (fifty-nine) days until Dave Lewis takes the helm at the UK’s biggest retailer. Grocery Insight are counting down to the start of his reign with an improvement point per day. First up, we had Twitter, then unerring focus on shrink, then we had Blinkbox and Hudl.

We then had a focus on trading with Brand OutletPoS (point of sale) and the Bakery. Today we have a brand owned by Tesco, Dobbies.

Footsteps to a Dobbies 'in store' concession.
Footsteps to a Dobbies ‘in store’ concession.

Remember Dobbies? It was bought by Sir Terry Leahy in 2008 and one presumes the plan was for a number of adjoining superstores / garden centres, mixed seasonal events with Dobbies branded products providing a point of difference versus other supermarkets and a real link with Clubcard to see some specialism towards gardening products.

It never really happened, save for a small seasonal event in selected stores this year and some joint sites for Dobbies / Tesco, there hasn’t been a great deal of collaboration between the businesses in a store sense. I’d have certainly expected permanent Dobbies PoS on each gardening event and a range of products within the core assortments in the Extra stores.

Instead, Tesco have preferred a standard PoS range which makes no reference to Dobbies, nor do any of the products get parachuted in as ‘specials’.

A range of plants outside the Prestwich store in Manchester.
A range of plants outside the Prestwich store in Manchester.
The instore event featured Dobbies PoS.
The instore event featured Dobbies PoS.
Along with hints & tips about gardening.
Along with hints & tips about gardening.

Given its a broadly separate business, there isn’t a great deal else to say! The seasonal events such as this one in Prestwich worked well but it appeared to be targeted at affluent stores, rather than a working majority of stores.

What does the longer term hold for Dobbies? Save for a shared location and a small seasonal offer, there isn’t too much crossover in stores, which would make a potential exit easier.

Dobbies is a great business and if it remains within the Tesco family, greater collaboration is needed to make Tesco a destination for gardening. It would solve the Extra overspace problem in some locations whilst (hopefully) gaining customers too.

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Grocery Insight provide market insight on the UK sector with a focus on individual retailers such as Tesco. This insight is useful to various stakeholders and due to my store based focus. Insight can be delivered to suppliers to focus on growth opportunities, analysts and investors to assess the business performance and long term outlook and retailers themselves to assess best practice. 

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