Holland & Barrett plans 70 new European stores and 485 new jobs in UK

model Abi Riley wearing the dress at the new Manchester Trafford Centre store.

Model Abi Riley wearing the vitamin and nut embroidered dress at the new Manchester Trafford Centre store

High street health food retailer Holland & Barrett has celebrated a record six years of consecutive growth by filing strong year-end financials, opening its 1,000th store at the Trafford centre in Manchester this week and announcing the opening of a further 70 new stores across Europe (40 in the UK and Ireland), creating 485 new jobs in the UK.

Figures submitted to Companies House show sales for the year ending September 2014 up by 7.5% to £513 million, with profit up 8% to £130m. The results 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 this week’s 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.”

Holland & Barrett said its own research charts significantly changing attitudes towards health over the past generation, with today’s twenty-something’s three times more likely to go to a gym than their parents’ generation, and with five times as many people taking vitamins, mineral and supplements than on the 1980s.

The 1,000th store milestone comes in the middle of a £40m investment programme that will allow the business to better meet the demands of an increasingly younger client base and more complex shopping environment.  Holland & Barrett’s omni-channel strategy will very soon see the roll-out of a click and collect proposition to further boost internet sales, new shop formats have been introduced and pilots for new store concepts such as protein shake bars and scent stations have proved very successful, underlining the continued importance shoppers attach to a real sensory experience.

To celebrate the 1000th store, Holland & Barrett commissioned a bespoke dress to be made embroidered with vitamins and nuts sold in the store. Pictured is Manchester model Abi Riley wearing the dress at the new Manchester Trafford Centre store.