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CEO looking to offload loss makers

Dobbies up for sale as Lewis takes Tesco back to its roots

Tesco is considering the sale of its Dobbies Garden Centres and coffee shop chain Harris & Hoole as chief executive Dave Lewis takes the company back to its core businesses.

The move is expected to help the chain reduce losses at these divisions and will represent an end to the ‘family of businesses’ which was the vision of his predecessor.

Tesco has already decided to shut its healthy living business, Nutricentre and is considering te sale of its restaurant chain Giraffe.

This morning it announced it has agreed the sale of an 8.6% stake in southeast Asian online retailer Lazada to Alibaba Group for £90.6 million.

Lasswade-based Dobbies was acquired by Tesco in 2007 under Sir Terry Leahy’s leadership and now has 35 garden centres across the country. Many of them are attached to the company’s supermarkets.

However, Dobbies’s has underperformed and the value of its property estate was written down. It reported a £48m loss in 2014-15. Mr Lewis is understood to have appointed Greenhill, a boutique advisory firm, to consider options for the business.

Harris & Hoole, designed as artisan coffee chain, has 40 outlets and is also on the block.

Tesco is also planning to close its bakery business, Euphorium which launched in 1999. It operates from five high street locations and more than 60 concession stores..

Mr Lewis has already sold Tesco’s business in South Korea for £4 billion, but it took its data analytics business Dunnhumby off the market after failing to attract appropriate offers.

Tesco is tomorrow expected to report a rise in underlying fourth-quarter sales, the group’s first quarterly increase for more than three years.

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