Resilient ‘health pound’ propels H&B to 1000th store opening

Leading health food chain Holland & Barrett opened its 1000th UK store this week and announced plans to open a further 70 stores across Europe, creating 485 new jobs in the Britain.

The retailer’s latest financials submitted today to Companies House (on 8 October)) show sales for the year ending September 2014 up by 7.5% to £513 million, with profit up 8% to £130 million.  The results also show a record 24 consecutive quarters of growth, with 12% compound annual growth over the last six years.

Peter Aldis, CEO of NBTY Europe, Holland & Barrett’s parent company, said: “We have invested significantly in UK as well as overseas expansion. Through a combination of acquisition and franchising we are now operating 80 stores in 8 territories and plan this financial year to open a further 70 new European stores generating around 485 new jobs in the UK.  Customers are now buying Holland & Barrett products in markets as diverse as Iceland and Belgium to Kuwait and Singapore. We already have 29 franchised stores operating in China and see scope for further growth across Asia.”

Commenting on the opening of Holland & Barrett’s 1000th store in Trafford Park, Manchester, Aldis said:  “Although the UK high street has been challenging these past few years I believe the retail health sector benefits from the resilience of the ‘health pound’ against other demands on consumers’ wallets.  Long-term campaigns about the risks of sugar, salt and meat are translating into increased consumer interest in the healthy product ranges we offer, and a generation of more health and fitness aware consumers is driving increased footfall in our stores. We have in particular seen notable increases in demand for our ‘free-from’ food as well as healthy beauty ranges across all age groups, reflecting continued scientific advances and a genuine shift towards healthier living.”

Latest developments at Holland & Barrett comes in the middle of a £40 million investment programme aimed at making the business to better able meet the demands of an increasingly younger client base and more complex shopping environment.  Its omni-channel strategy will soon see the roll-out of click and collect, while new shop formats have been introduced and pilots for new store concepts such as protein shake bars and scent stations trialled successfully. Picture: Holland & Barrett MDPeter Aldis with the model Abi Riley wearing a dress made from raisins, nuts and cod liver oil capsules.