Source: Holland & Barrett

Last month Holland & Barrett overhauled its food and drink category, which launched at its flagship store in London’s Marble Arch

Holland & Barrett has restarted the UK rollout of its ‘store within a store’ partnership with Tesco

This month, the health and wellness retailer opened a new H&B concession in a Tesco Extra store in Walkden, Greater Manchester. It follows the opening of a new concession at a Tesco Extra store in Longton, Staffordshire, in July, with more sites planned over the coming months.

They are the first new UK sites since before the pandemic, with the last being a concession in a Tesco Extra store in Cleethorpes, in July 2019. 

The concessions were first introduced into Tesco’s larger format Extra stores in 2016 as part of an initial six-store pilot, which was later expanded nationwide, and then to Ireland. However, H&B said the openings were the first in the UK “for a while” as it had focused on growing its footprint in Irish Tesco stores.

The new opening means there are now H&B concessions at 44 Tesco sites across both the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

“We regularly review our property plan to make sure we’re in the places that are most convenient to our customers,” H&B property & format director Nick Gerrard told The Grocer.

“We’re continuing to invest heavily in high streets across the UK and ROI, through our extensive programme of refits and new store openings this financial year. As part of this we’re continuing to work with the Tesco team to look at further opportunities to expand our partnership.”

When they were first introduced, the bays – which can stock thousands of H&B lines – were seen as a way for Tesco to improve its offering and fill space in its larger stores following the shutdown of its health food business Nutricentre.

For H&B, the concessions are seen as a way of reaching a new type of customer outside of its specialist health and wellness consumer.

“We are pleased to have opened a new Holland & Barrett concession at our Walkden Extra store,” said a Tesco spokesman. “We’re growing our partnership with Holland & Barrett and are excited to open a number of new concessions at our stores over the coming months.”

The health and wellness retailer has accelerated its store refit and rollout plans following the completion of a deal by owner LetterOne to buy back £700m of its debt in November last year. The process left the business debt free, after a period during which its ability to pay creditors was affected by sanctions imposed against its former Russian shareholders following the outbreak of the Ukraine war. It had also faced criticism from suppliers over its slow payment practices.

The subsequent modernisation programme has seen H&B upgrade many of its existing stores in new branding, as well as opening in new locations. It also includes a pilot to launch small H&B concessions in three of WH Smith’s travel stores at Heathrow’s Terminal 2, Gatwick’s North Terminal and London Euston, which began in February.

The store expansion plans come alongside a wider overhaul of H&B’s customer offering. In September the health and wellness retailer relaunched its entire grocery category. The initial 500 lines include the reintroduction of fresh products, for the first time since the pandemic hit.