Holland & Barrett health advisors

Source: H&B

H&B wants to fill what it said was a ‘gap’ in support available to women on the high street

Holland & Barrett aims to become the go-to place for support and health advice for women on the high street, with the launch of a new ‘Women’s Health Commitment’.

The four-part, three-year commitment comes alongside a £4m investment in training store staff, research and improving product innovation to ensure its stores better support female customers.

It will see 600 staff specially trained as ‘Women’s Health Coaches’, enabling them to provide specific and personalised advice in H&B stores.

In addition, all 4,000 of H&B’s UK store colleagues will be given further training to enable them to better support women’s health, for example around pain, bloating and vitamins for maintaining hormone health.

A survey of 2,158 women commissioned by the retailer identified what it called a “gap” in the support available to women shoppers on the UK high street. Thirty-five per cent of respondents said they felt there was a lack of education and readily available support on women’s health issues. A further 60% agreed there needed to be more support available.

In response H&B has launched a three-year commitment to women’s health. The training of staff forms the first part of the commitment to “democratise access” to support.

H&B will also expand its existing menopause support helpline, with the launch a new online menstrual health video consultation service, which will be run in partnership with the charity Endometriosis Foundation.

For its second pledge, H&B has committed to commission its own ethnographic research into women’s general health and reproductive health, and women’s experiences of both.

This in turn will support its third pledge to ‘enable health equity’ and provide better support for women from minority backgrounds.

The final commitment will see H&B invest more into innovation to expand the range of products it stocks that are specifically tailored to women’s health. 

“Women’s health has been under-served for too long,” said CEO H&B wellness solutions & chief transformation officer Tamara Rajah.

“Whilst we have championed better support for menopause for over 50 years, there has remained a gap in awareness and support for wider hormonal and menstrual health. Being on every high street, we are ideally placed to normalise conversations around women’s health for women of all ages, from periods to fertility, endometriosis and more, then to perimenopause and menopause.

”In doing so we can support the health system and the national women’s health strategy, helping to break down stigmas and taboos around these topics and make sure every girl and woman knows of the available support.”

It’s the latest in a string of women-focused health campaigns launched by the retailer over the last couple of years, as it continues to invest in its service offer, stores, and product range after a £700m buyback deal by owner LetterOne left the retailer debt-free.

In October 2022 it rolled out a menopause advice service, which was expanded into different languages in June 2023.