Holland & Barrett appoints Anthony Houghton as group retail and property director

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Holland & Barrett International, Europe’s leading health and wellness retailer have today appointed Anthony Houghton to group retail and property director, supporting newly appointed MD Steve Carson alongside Echo Lu, managing director international.

Starting his retail career with Dixons Stores Group in 1988 as a weekend sales advisor, Houghton rapidly progressed through the business in both Curry’s and Dixons, holding a variety of retail roles including store manager and area manager.

Houghton’s career has seen him hold a number of senior roles in Woolworths, Pedigree Group and Home Retail Group, including retail stores director for Argos with accountability for all 846 stores.

Currently retail director at Wilko, Houghton has been helping to lead the transformation of one of the longest trading retailers on the high street, using his passion for developing people and driving the very best customer experience to help modernise the customer offering in an ever-changing and challenging retail environment.

Houghton will join Steve Carson, also ex Sainsbury’s Argos, in Holland & Barrett’s bid to continue its ambitious UK expansion, with the current UK & Ireland store count at almost 800.

Peter Aldis, Holland & Barrett CEO, commented: “This new appointment underlines our commitment to providing our customers with a retail experience that is second-to-none in every channel. While our international team continues to drive growth in new and emerging markets across the world, we know we must remain flexible and innovative to keep up with a customer who has come to expect so much from our broadening health and wellness proposition. Like me, Anthony has been a retail man since the beginning, working his way up, which gives him a unique insight into every aspect of how large-scale retailers operate. Coming so soon after our acquisition by L1 Retail, Anthony’s appointment is another clear signal of our intent to become one of the world’s leading health and wellness brands.

“Anthony’s appointment will further strengthen our senior leadership team, which has recently seen high-profile strategic additions of Steve Carson (ex-Sainsburys/Argos) as managing director, Echo Lu (ex-Homebase) as international managing director, Mark Fabes (ex-Starbucks) as group IT dDirector and Caroline Hipperson (ex-Bacardi) as group brand marketing director.”

Houghton said: “I am excited by the challenge of helping to transform a long-standing and greatly admired brand into a global health and wellbeing leader. My background of creating innovative customer experiences in large-scale retail helps me understand what consumers are looking for in what is a rapidly evolving and changing market. I am looking forward to working with a strong global team to drive continued expansion ambitions both in the UK and in markets across the world.”

Holland & Barrett International has reported over nine years of like for like growth and currently operates more than 1,100 stores across the world, including 788 branches in the UK and Ireland of which 32 are “store in store” concepts with Tesco. It was acquired by L1 Retail in September 2017.