Boots turns to Tesco for UK retail chief

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The Independent Online

Boots poached Scott Wheway from Tesco, appointing him as retail director in charge of its 1,400 stores across the UK. Mr Wheway has worked for Tesco for 20 years and currently heads the supermarket chain's operations in Japan.

Boots poached Scott Wheway from Tesco, appointing him as retail director in charge of its 1,400 stores across the UK. Mr Wheway has worked for Tesco for 20 years and currently heads the supermarket chain's operations in Japan.

The appointment comes as Boots seeks to revitalise the business after years of sluggish growth. The chief executive, Richard Baker, has cut head office staff by almost a third, extended opening hours and invested heavily in modernisation and expansion.

A Boots spokesman said that Mr Wheway, who is not joining the main board, "will be coming in with new ideas and a different view of life". He said the appointment forms part of the 155-year-old company's modernisation drive. "We're doing an awful lot in the stores. They've been underinvested for many years. We are playing catch-up in a lot of areas."

Mr Wheway will join Boots in January and take over as retail director at the start of the financial year in April. He will report to the chief executive. The 38-year-old joined Tesco from school and worked his way up into head office through various roles.

Boots announced this week that it would team up with Nokia to sell mobile phones and digital printers in its stores. The health and beauty retailer also plans to offer a new range of products such as vibrators and massage oils as it tries to shake off its stuffy image.

The company is expected to announce a drop in first-half pretax profits next week after bad weather hit sales and margins were squeezed following price cuts made to combat competition from supermarkets.

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