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Multichannel retailer Holland & Barrett unveils vision to be a £1bn business by 2020

IRUK Top500 INTERVIEW Emma Mead of Holland & Barrett on multichannel strategies

Holland & Barrett has unveiled its vision to be a £1bn turnover company by 2020, growing both through stores and online at home and around the world.

The multichannel health and wellness retailer saw direct ecommerce sales grow by 27.5% in its latest financial year, as it expanded its online operations with a new Free From website in the UK and new online storefronts both on Alibaba-owned and on overseas sister website Tmall Global.

Total sales grew to £573.8m in the year to September 30, a rise of 11.7% compared to the same time last year. Profits of £146m were up by 12.2%. Holland & Barrett International, a Top150 company in the IRUK Top500 research, is part of the NBTY Group, which was acquired by Carlyle Private Equity in 2010.

The retailer will now continue to pursue its target through further investment online and by growing directly operated stores as well as franchises – it now has 1071 stores, of which 104 are franchised and 744 are in the UK>

Chief executive Peter Aldis said: “We are already in the top quartile of the UK’s fastest growing retailers and have the means to continue to invest in growth across not only across our UK and European network, but also in our very successful international franchise model. This in particular has enabled us to grow quickly in markets as diverse as Kuwait and Malta, Singapore and China. Our experience is that the British heritage behind our brand gives us significant advantage in our sector, and overseas consumers, such as those in China, seem to prefer the quality and reliability of our products compared with local competitors.”

He addded: “Our home market in the UK continues to be the first to benefit from our very healthy new product pipeline and from our continued investment in innovation.

“A significant development this year was the launch of our ‘Free-From’ food range and online platform, offering consumers with food allergies or intolerances such as gluten and wheat the widest range of specialist food products available in the UK, all searchable by allergen filter and all available either for home delivery or in-store collection. We will also continue our relentless focus on new technologies and driving integration across our ecommerce channels to benefit the shopping experience of both new users and loyal customers who have really made the business what it is today.”

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