NBTY acquired De Tuinen from Dutch food retail group Ahold in 2003 for a reported €16.5m and the Belgian 13-store chain Essenza in 2013 for undisclosed sum. It has owned Holland & Barrett since 1997.
The rebrand will see the Holland & Barrett name over the door of 167 more Dutch and Belgian branches from April this year with this process taking about 18 months to complete.
This takes the number of Holland & Barrett stores in Europe to about 900. There are 75 franchised stores outside the European Union's 28 member states.
The move comes as part of big development plans for Holland & Barrett, with ambitions to increase both its owned and franchise stores globally.
Changes to the chains
NBTY said there would be no staffing or location changes, and their staff had already been trained in Holland & Barrett’s ‘qualified to advise’ style.
About 40% of the new Dutch and Belgian stores' stock will be different to the current UK Holland & Barrett stores.
Colinda Hoegee, NBTY Europe’s managing director for Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, told us this related to the different backgrounds of the stores.
“The Dutch stores are founded on personal care, tea and herbs so therefore this part of the assortment is larger than a UK H&B store. The UK store sells more food products than the brands in the Netherlands and Belgium. Our European goal is to bring the assortments and brands together over time and use the best from each other.”
She said both brands had performed well since their acquisition and the move sought to strengthen that as well as Holland & Barrett's position as an international brand.
Asked about competition in Belgium and the Netherlands, Hoegee said direct competition for its foundation categories of 'health', 'ethical beauty' and 'pure food and beverage' was limited. Product-level competition from pharmacist chains like Etos and Kruidvat (AS Watson) and from ethical beauty chains like Bodyshop existed, but Holland & Barrett would be focusing on its strengths, she said.
The first store to convert in the Netherlands will be a dual-branded store in Wassenaar. In Belgium this will be a fully-fledged Holland & Barrett store in Gent.