• L1 Retail is buying Holland & Barrett
  • L1 Retail is part of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s investment business LetterOne
  • L1 Retail’s advisory board includes former Argos boss John Walden


Holland & Barrett has been sold to investor L1 Retail for £1.8bn.

Retail-Week.com exclusively revealed L1’s interest on Friday, and the investment business has beaten off competition from health and beauty retail giant AS Watson, owner of Superdrug, to win control of Holland & Barrett.

L1 Retail is part of Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s LetterOne operation.

The retail arm is headed by Russian retailer X5 chairman Stephan DuCharme and boasts former Home Retail boss John Walden, ex-Lidl chief Karl-Heinz Holland and Dunnhumby founder Clive Humby as members of its advisory board.

Holland & Barrett will be L1 Retail’s first investment.

DuCharme said: “Holland & Barrett is a clear market leader in the UK health and wellness retail market, with attractive growth positions in other European and international markets, and growing online presence, with a leading customer loyalty programme and 10 million active cardholders.

”We look forward to working with Peter Aldis, chief executive officer, Holland & Barrett and his strong management team.

”We believe that the company is well positioned to benefit from structural growth in the growing £10 billion health and wellness market and has multiple levers for long term growth and value creation.”

Aldis said: “We are delighted to now be in partnership with the L1 Retail team and its advisory board of internationally-renowned retailers.

”We have upgraded much of our core store portfolio to concept stores to deliver additional in-store theatre and increased customer engagement. New products launched through our ethical sourcing programme have also been a key growth driver helping to underpin our substantial investment to gain presence across an increasingly global health and wellness market.

”We are particularly proud that our international business last year received the Queen’s Award for International Trade. Carlyle has been a great partner for Holland & Barrett over the last few years, investing in the brand, our people, and next generation technology, which has driven our growth. We look forward to building on this track record as we enter the next chapter with L1 Retail.”

On its website L1 Retail describes its aim as “to buy and build 21st-century retail stars” and says “we are leveraging our strong track record in retail to invest in and build the next generation of retailers internationally”.

Holland & Barrett has about 1,150 branches, more than half of which are in the UK and the rest in countries including China and India.

Its revenues in 2016 were £610m, and it has achieved 32 consecutive quarters of like-for-like growth.