Anthony Houghton holland and barrett

Anthony Houghton

Holland & Barrett has appointed Wilko’s retail director Anthony Houghton as its new group retail and property director.

Houghton will bring around 30 years of retail expertise across sales, operations and managerial roles to the health and wellness retailer.

Having started his retail career in 1988 as a weekend sales advisor for Dixons Stores Group, Houghton rapidly progressed through both Curry’s and Dixons, holding a variety of retail roles including store manager and area manager, before moving to more senior roles at Woolworths, Pedigree Group and Home Retail Group, including retail stores director for Argos.

Currently retail director at Wilko, Houghton has been helping to lead its transformation, using his passion for developing people and driving the very best customer experience to help modernise the customer offering.

At Holland & Barrett, Houghton will support MD Steve Carson, formerly of Sainsbury’s Argos, and Echo Lu, managing director international, in the retailer’s bid to continue its UK expansion.

“This new appointment underlines our commitment to providing our customers with a retail experience that is second-to-none in every channel,” said H&B CEO Peter Aldis. “While our international team continues to drive growth in new and emerging markets across the world, we know we must remain flexible and innovative to keep up with a customer who has come to expect so much from our broadening health and wellness proposition. Like me, Anthony has been a retail man since the beginning, working his way up, which gives him a unique insight into every aspect of how large-scale retailers operate.”

Aldis added that Houghton’s appointment was a “clear signal” of Holland & Barrett’s “intent to become one of the world’s leading health and wellness brands”, especially given that it comes just under a year since the retailer was acquired by L1 Retail for £1.77bn.

Houghton said: “I am excited by the challenge of helping to transform a longstanding and greatly admired brand into a global health and wellbeing leader. My background of creating innovative customer experiences in large-scale retail helps me understand what consumers are looking for in what is a rapidly evolving and changing market. I am looking forward to working with a strong global team to drive continued expansion ambitions both in the UK and in markets across the world.”