Holland & Barrett grows sales and profits
Sales grew by 11.7% to £573.8 million while pre-tax profit climbed by 12.2% to £146 million.
Peter Aldis, chief executive of Holland & Barrett International, said: "This year’s performance, especially our rapid growth overseas, underlines the fact that rising consumer interest in healthier living and wellness is by no means a UK or even western phenomenon.
"Demand has continued to increase for our long established propositions in vitamins, minerals and supplements, but our investments in further developing our product ranges in sport, healthy beauty and healthy food have shown notable increases in sales and footfall across all of our stores in all markets."
Part of the NBTY Group, which was acquired by Carlyle Private Equity in 2010, Holland & Barrett has also announced that it aims to be a £1 billion turnover business by 2020.
Aldis added: "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."
During the year, Holland & Barrett opened its 100th franchise store. The new shop in the city of Taiyuan brought the total number of franchised stores in China to 34, covering 18 cities in nine provinces.
2015 also saw some 56 new stores opened by the business to bring the total number of stores under the brand to 1071, of which 104 are franchised. The business is also in advanced stages of negotiation with a strategic partner in India and hopes to open the first Holland & Barrett franchise store there next year.
Footfall across Holland & Barrett's 744 UK stores increased by 8% and items per basket by 2%. Like-for-like sales in the UK climbed by 10.4%.
Aldis said: “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."
Holland & Barrett is aiming to complete the rebrand of its Benelux division by June 2016. The retailer said early results show that the rebranded stores in Holland are attracting more customers with up to a 9% improvement in sales and an average increase in footfall of 5%.
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