The A.S. Watson Group (ASW), the world’s leading international health and beauty retailer, is gearing up for a double celebration. In the early December, its flagship brand Watsons Your Personal Store opened its 1,000th store in Mainland China, one of its 33 operating markets. At the same time it is counting down to the opening of its 10,000th store globally before the end of the year.
Expansion plan in China
Watsons Your Personal Store is currently the market leader in health and beauty in China. Its popularity is reflected in the 23 million members already signed up to its loyalty programme since its launch in 2009. Last week, Watsons China’s 1,000th store was opened in Shanghai, marking an important milestone in the company’s plan to expand to 3,000 stores in China alone before end of 2016. Meanwhile, ASW is set to achieve its 10,000th store milestone globally by the end of this year. The retailer has been opening stores globally at an average rate of 3 stores per day this year.
From 1,000 to 10,000
The past decade has seen a progressive expansion period for ASW worldwide, from a network of just over 1,100 stores mainly in Asia in 2001 to now approaching 10,000 stores across Asia and Europe. This reinforces its position as the world’s leading health and beauty retailer. The Group now serves 26 million customers per week, opening 1,100 stores a year globally.
Group Managing Director Mr Dominic Lai comments on this milestone occasion, “We have built this phase of growth on a solid foundation driven by our focus on operational excellence, our customers and people development. In terms of our operating markets, as for many retailers, China is a growth driver for the Group, which means competition is intense and we need to continue to innovate to offer more to our customers. This is top-of-mind for us in every aspect of our business to ensure we continue to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations when they shop with us, and our market leading loyalty programme enables us to continually strive to deliver this.”
In Europe, despite the tough economic environment, ASW retail businesses continue to maintain steady growth.
“We are seeing less footfall in markets like the UK and Italy, however, customers are buying more with us on every trip which has supported our growth. Customers are extremely price-conscious, but they are still willing to spend if you have good quality products on offer,” said Mr Lai.
“We have been improving collaborations with suppliers to create excitement for our customers through product and promotional offers. Our own brand product participation levels have also been growing satisfactorily. This reflects the value-conscious mentality of customers globally; demanding quality and price at the same time which has meant our re-launched and upgraded own brand ranges are more in demand worldwide.”
Looking ahead to 2012, the company will continue its global expansion plan while increase further its investment and focus on customers to build engagement and loyalty.
About A.S. Watson Group
Around the world, 26 million customers a week shop at A.S. Watson Group’s retail stores across its 33 markets. The Group has one of the world’s largest portfolio of retail formats, retail brands and geographical presence. Supported by a global family of 100,000 staff, the Group is also a member of the world renowned Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Limited, which has major interests in ports and related services; property and hotels; retail; energy, infrastructure, investments and others; and telecommunications in 53 countries.