The owner of health food brand Holland & Barrett is ramping up overseas expansion, as it revealed pre-tax profits up 30% to £74m.

In documents filed at Companies House, Holland & Barrett, which is owned by NBTY Europe, delivered turnover up 9% to £335m in the year to September 30, 2012.

In the first six months of the current financial year, NBTY Europe chief executive Peter Aldis told Retail Week that sales across the group, of which Holland & Barrett comprises 80%, are up 6% and like-for-like sales have jumped 3.5%.

He revealed that the group wants to open non-franchised Holland & Barrett stores overseas within the next three years.

“I think overseas expansion will accelerate. There is still so much to do in the UK but we do want to be a bigger global brand,” Aldis said.

Holland & Barrett currently has franchised stores in Gibraltar, Iceland, Malta, Cyprus, Dubai, Singapore and China. But NBTY Europe will be actively looking for the right overseas location for non-franchise sites next year either through a business acquisition or by opening completely new stores.

Aldis said: “We are looking at franchise sites where it is hard to get into without a local partner. In Europe, we have already had success operating stores, so we know we understand it inside-out.”

Last week NBTY Europe, which also owns British retailer GNC and De Tuinen stores in The Netherlands, bought Belgian heath food chain Essenza, Aldis said it is unlikely the retailer will be rebranded to Holland & Barrett due to the weight of its brand recognition in the country.

The plans are part of the NBTY Europe’s new five-pillared three-year strategy to improve the core estate through improvement in product, ranging and larger stores, expansion across its domestic sites in Ireland, the UK, Holland and Belgium, international expansion and international franchising and driving GNC’s online capabilities to be a digital brand.  

Aldis added: “GNC has a small store estate and we want to expand it but we do think that it is a future brand and could do very well digitally.”

Holland & Barrett is poised to relaunch its website which will enable it to offer click-and-collect and reserve-in-store later this year. It has created the role of director of e-commerce to lead the plans, appointing former Shop Direct e-commerce director Neal Preece. He took up the post on June 3.

700-store strong Holland & Barrett wants to open stores in “key locations”, while it is also planning to open larger stores in big towns and cities. This comes after it recently launched its Manchester site, which relocated from a 900 sq ft store to a 2,700 sq ft site.