Superdrug chain to add 300 stores

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The Independent Online

Just as Boots announced it was scaling back its investment budget, its biggest rival, Superdrug, piled on the pressure by unveiling a big expansion push.

Just as Boots announced it was scaling back its investment budget, its biggest rival, Superdrug, piled on the pressure by unveiling a big expansion push.

Superdrug, which is owned by the mighty Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa, said it planned to open more than 300 stores over the next four years, increasing its 700-strong estate by 40 per cent. It intends to spend £75m this year on opening 40 new stores.

Siperdrug also plans to boost its brand, which has historically been regarded as Boots's poor cousin. The chain was bought from Kingfisher by Hutchison's retailing arm, AS Watson, before the do-it-yourself giant demerged Woolworths. Hutchison uses Superdrug's store network to sell its mobile phone network, 3, and 3G phones.

Asda, which is owned by Wal-Mart, piggybacked on Boots's results day to announce that it planned to beef up its toiletries offer. It will spend £7m upgrading its 278 health and beauty aisles, adding 1,000 new lines.

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