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Superdrug History

1964 Ronald and Peter Goldstein, who had both spent several years in the grocery retailing industry, decided to implement their trading formulae and concepts and start a toiletry retailing business. Superdrug was incorporated in 1964 as 'Leading Supermarkets Limited' and adopted its present name later that year.

1966 The first Superdrug store opened on 26 April in Putney High Street.

1968 Three stores trading successfully; Putney, Croydon and Streatham. During this year, Superdrug acquired its first distribution warehouse in Wimbledon. Prior to the warehouse opening, suppliers had delivered directly to stores.

1970 Store opening expansion dictated a head office move to larger premises at West Molesey, with a warehouse capacity of 20,000 square feet.

1971 The Rite Aid Corporation, a US company operating a chain of drugstores on the east coast of America, acquired a 49% stake in Superdrug.

1972 Superdrug acquired Elgee Drugstores, a company operating a chain of five stores.

1973 Superdrug, now operating over 40 stores, moved its warehouse operation to premises at Hackbridge with an increased space capacity of 50,000 square feet. Computerised stock control was introduced.

1976 Superdrug, through accelerated store growth, acquired additional warehouse space of 16,000 square feet to service the 65 stores now operating.

1979 The Company acquired an eight acre site at Beddington Lane, Croydon, giving the opportunity of designing a purpose built distribution centre and head offices to cater for the expanding business. Superdrug was now trading through 77 stores.

1980 The first store in Wales opened in Wrexham.

1981 The Croydon distribution centre was completed, providing 120,000 square feet of warehouse space and head office accommodation. Superdrug opened its 100th store in Manchester.

1983 Superdrug, now operating 143 outlets, was floated on the USM stock market in February and received a spectacular welcome.

1984 Sales exceeded a record £ million in one week. An additional 31 new stores were opened and a 14 acre site was acquired in Wakefield to cope with the increasing distribution needs of the expanded business in the north. Croydon head office was extended and at the end of the year, Bishop Auckland became the company's 200th store.

1985 The Goldsteins' trading formula continued to demonstrate its success with 37 new stores opened and own-label products exceeding 24% of total sales. In addition, a new 200,000 square foot, semi-automated distribution centre was completed in Pontefract. The Company also established an in-house Design Studio and Quality Assurance Department. Superdrug opened its first store in Scotland bringing the store total to 253.

1986 Exactly two years after the company stock market flotation, Superdrug had doubled its store chain to a sizeable 289 outlets.

1987 In March, Superdrug agreed a £57 million takeover by Woolworth Holdings Plc (Kingfisher Plc) with Rite Aid relinquishing its shareholding. The terms of the acquisition laid out a clear strategy for Superdrug to accelerate its expansion programme by taking advantage of Woolworth Holdings' (Kingfisher Plc) financial assets and surplus premium high street property portfolio. Superdrug, now a major force on the UK high street, increased its store chain to 339 by the end of the year, trading in some 954,000 square feet of retail space and employing over 7,000 people.

1988 Woolworth Holdings Plc (Kingfisher Plc) acquired Tip Top Drugstores in January for £3 million. The 110 Tip Top outlets were concentrated in the North of England and Scotland. In March, Woolworth Holdings Plc (Kingfisher Plc) acquired Share Drug, a business comprising 145 drugstores located in the south, for £2 million. By the end of the year, Superdrug had established a market leading position within the high street toiletry sector, trading in 580 outlets and producing an annual turnover of £50 million. Excess properties resulting from store duplications in high street sites were sold. The Tip Top warehouse and distribution centre at Wetherby was closed and consolidated into Pontefract. The Share Drug distribution centre in Southampton was re-organised and computerised systems introduced. The business was now being serviced by three distribution centres.

1989 Woolworth Holdings Plc changed its name to Kingfisher Plc, establishing a new corporate identity autonomous to its retailing subsidiary companies. Superdrug's expansion rate continued, and in November Kingfisher acquired the Medicare chain of drugstores. The additional 86 Medicare stores were quickly incorporated into the Superdrug portfolio, increasing its retail trading space by 200,000 square feet in 681 outlets.

1990 Ronald and Peter Goldstein left Superdrug and Alan Smith was appointed Managing Director in March. He joined the company from Allied Lyons Plc where he was Managing Director of the Victoria Wine Company. With some of the Medicare sites sold off and store relocations/rationalisation programmes decreasing store numbers, the number of Superdrug stores reached 650.

1991 Superdrug opened its first store in Northern Ireland and subsequently developed a chain of nine stores in the region. The company also opened its first two perfumeries in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Epsom, Surrey.

1992 Superdrug announced annual sales of £59m and profits of £4.6m for the trading year ending January 1992. Market share increased significantly from 7.8% to 8.4% in the toiletries sector. The Cheltenham store became the first Superdrug store with an in-store pharmacy. A further 18 perfumeries opened in stores nationwide. In August, Superdrug launched its No Animal Testing Charter.

1993 A total of 60 perfumeries were now open. The Bracknell store became the second Superdrug store with an in-store pharmacy.

1994 In March, the largest Superdrug store opened in Northampton measuring 8,700 sq.ft.

1995 Superdrug announced annual sales of £19.5m and profits of £8.1m for the trading year ending 28 January 1995. The company's rebranding and store refurbishment programme began, with the first four new look stores opening in Milton Keynes, Bristol, The Strand and Holborn. By December, the number of in-store pharmacies had increased to 48.

1996 Superdrug announced annual sales of £53.8m and profits of £1.1m for the trading year ending 3 February 1996. By April, the number of in-store pharmacies had increased to 60.

1997 Superdrug announced annual sales of £84.8m and profits of £2.4m for the trading year ending 31 January 1997. The number of in-store pharmacies increased to 128 and a total of 1,400 own brand products were launched during the year.

1998 Superdrug announced annual sales of £49.5m and profits of £1m for the trading year ending 31 January 1998. In June, Superdrug opened its first-ever Oxford Street store in the heart of London's West End. This new flagship site was the first UK high street health & beauty outlet to feature an integrated Hair Salon. The Hair Salon offers customers a premium salon environment, in a friendly, accessible format, and full menu of hairdressing services at great prices. In addition the store features a pharmacy for prescription dispensing and general healthcare advice. A consulting room is also available offering a wide range of healthcare services including osteopathy, chiropody, massage and reflexology.

1999 Superdrug announced annual sales of £98.5m and profits of £1.1m for the trading year ending 31 January 1999. In March, Superdrug opened its new look store in The Bluewater Shopping Centre, one of Europe's biggest shopping centre developments. By November, the number of in-store pharmacies had increased to 192.

2000 In February, Superdrug celebrated the opening of its 200th Pharmacy in Twickenham. In April, Liz Wright was appointed Managing Director. Also in April, Superdrug launched its first ever customer magazine, Spirit. Available in all 720 Superdrug stores, the free bi-monthly title, is published by River Publishing. The magazine brings alive the health and beauty retailer's lively and down-to-earth personality, featuring a mix of realistic and affordable beauty and fashion tips and ideas, plus makeovers, accessible healthcare advice and real-life reader stories. In September, Superdrug launched its web site, By November 2000, the number of in-store pharmacies had increased to 231.

2001 In July, Kingfisher completed the sale of Superdrug to Kruidvat Beheer BV and new stores opened in prime retail pitches generating a more indulgent health & beauty shopping experience.

2002 In February, Superdrug announced its biggest ever promotional initiative with the launch of the 'Big Deal' leaflet. The 'Big Deal' leaflet targets over 5.75 million households nationwide and reaches 1 in every 3 households in Superdrug's catchment area. The leaflet communicates all key activity happening at Superdrug including new lower prices, promotions and new product launches. In October, Superdrug's parent company, Kruidvat Holdings sold its retail interests to A.S. Watson, an international retailer and manufacturer, who is part of the multinational conglomerate, Hutchison Whampoa.

2003 In January 2003, Gerard Hazelebach replaced Liz Wright as managing director of Superdrug. Gerard joined Superdrug from ICI Paris XL, Kruidvat's perfumery business.

2003 In April 2003, the company teamed up with 3G to open the first 3 store within a Superdrug store, giving new and existing customers the ideal opportunity to experience video-mobiling (over 200 3 stores to date).

2003 In September 2003, Superdrug opened the doors to its first trial store that reflects the new brand concept in the Bullring Centre Development.

2004 Euan Sutherland appointed Chief Operating Officer and the start of Superdrug's five year plan to reposition itself as the UK's leading fashion led beauty & health retailer, an investment programme launched to refresh 85 per cent of the store chain.

2005 Superdrug announces its intention to have up to 1000 stores by the end of 2009.

2006 January. Announcement to open 35 new stores in 2006 with plans to move in to Southern Ireland.
September Euan Sutherland appointed CEO of AS Watson Health & Beauty UK.

2007 220 Savers stores converted to Superdrug stores. A £46 million beauty investment programme launched giving 440 stores a beauty facelift during 2007 and in a further £23 million expansion, twelve stores received a new pink fascia treatment and stores in every major city will turn pink by the end of 2008. August Superdrug files a healthy set of accounts at Companies House for the year ended 31 December 2006; Total growth up 5.3%, Lfl sales up 2.4%, Operating profit up 14%, 48 new stores opened.

2008 April Jeremy Seigal appointed CEO of AS Watson Health & Beauty UK

2009 Superdrug launches its Superprices campaign; Superdrug's Essentials £1 Skincare range launches

2010 Superdrug announces plans to launch The Perfume Shop, shop within shops with its sister company from July 2010; Superdrug announces plans to launch a major Autumn TV campaign

2011 Joey Wat appointed AS Watson Health & Beauty UK Managing Director for Superdrug and Savers. Superdrug launches BeautyCard its first customer loyalty card. The company becomes the title sponsor of the CEW UK Beauty Awards to reward excellence in the industry.

2012 New Superdrug fragrance counters launched offering specialist advice. Over £300k raised by Superdrug customers and colleagues for Teenage Cancer Trust.

2013 Marie Curie appointed Superdrug’s charity partner for 2013 and 2014. A new TV Ad campaign The Superdrug Feeling is launched. Partners with UK skin cancer charity SKCin on the summer campaign launching the Sun Safe Schools awards scheme.