Boots is aiming to capitalise on a “significant” opportunity in South Korea by launching stores in partnership with hypermarket retailer Emart.

Parent firm Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) has agreed a franchise deal with Emart to open an unspecified number of Boots-branded stores in the country, it revealed today.

The initial sites are due to open in the first half of next year.

“South Korea is considered a leading market for skincare and cosmetics products in Asia today,” said Ornella Barra, WBA’s co-chief operating officer.

“We believe there is a significant opportunity to extend the reach of Boots own brands into this market and are thrilled to be doing so with Emart.”

As part of the deal, Boots-branded shops will open in shopping malls, on high streets and within the outbound areas of Shinsegae department stores and Emart hypermarkets.

Boots already has Boots-branded stores in Asia with a significant presence in Thailand. It also has a stake in Chinese chain Nanjing Pharmaceutical, after striking a deal in 2012. 

The South Korea stores will have an independent pharmacy and a range of Boots owned products – including No7 and Soap & Glory – and ‘Exclusive to Boots’ brands, as well as leading Korean brands.

Barra added: “Emart is the pre-eminent retailer in South Korea and their strong experience as well as their marketing expertise gives us great confidence in the long-term potential of this partnership.”

Boots has a new boss as Elizabeth Fagan has taken over from departing chief Simon Roberts this month.