In pictures: Boots vs the beauty titans

Boots Covent Garden

Can Boots’ new Covent Garden store help it compete with beauty brands and department stores? John Ryan reports.

Beauty is an increasingly competitive sector. Department stores are leaning on it as a footfall driver, brands are selling direct to consumer more and traditional players such as Boots are feeling the pinch.

The opening of Boots’ new flagship store on Covent Garden’s Long Acre last week was heralded as a major step forward in its bid to reinvigorate beauty. And it’s certainly given top billing in the shop. With wellness, pharmacy and an optician on the first floor, the way was left clear for the ground floor to be devoted entirely to beauty (with the exception of haircare).

Boots has followed the department store road. This means the first thing a shopper encounters is the beauty hall, largely because margin, product volume and supplier contribution make it something of a no-brainer as far as in-store location is concerned.

But given what has been done and the cost of trading on Long Acre (which proved too much for a busy Marks & Spencer when it closed on this site in 2018), does the Boots beauty hall measure up against its big rivals?

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