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Study Shows British Top EU in Beauty Spending

Posted: August 22, 2008

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But British retailers have made only a limited impact on mainland Europe. Of the top six health and beauty specialists in the European Union, only one, Alliance Boots, is from the United Kingdom, and even it is planning to relocate its headquarters to Switzerland. Instead, Germans dominate the leaderboard, occupying four of the top six places, while the leading retailer is Hong Kong-based A.S. Watson, part of the Hutchison Whampoa group.

Verdict Research argues that the leading German retailers (Schlecker, dm-drogerie markt, Rossmann** and Douglas) can attribute their success in part to the comparatively consolidated nature of German health and beauty retail and the favorable central location of the country for international expansion. "In contrast, the most successful U.K. specialists are often pharmacy-focused, which can make international expansion tricky due to local regulations over pharmacy ownership," comments Ratcliffe.

A dramatic rise

From a market share of just 1.2% in 2002, A.S. Watsonhas expanded through a series of acquisitions to take an estimated 5.3% of the EU health and beauty market in 2007. A.S. Watson now has 10 chains in the European Union: Marionnaud, Superdrug, Kruidvat, Ici Paris XL, Savers, Trekpleister, Drogas, The Perfume Shop, Watson’s and Rossmann*.

Schlecker, in third place with an estimated market share of 4.3%, has the largest amount of store space. With more than 14,000 stores, Schlecker has more than double the number of A.S. Watson and more than five times that of second-placed rival Alliance Boots.