Belfast Telegraph

Boots get their hands on skincare company for £140m

By Holly Williams

The owner of high street chain Boots has bought skincare business Liz Earle for £140m. Walgreens Boots Alliance - formed earlier this year by the mega-merger between Alliance Boots and US pharmacy group Walgreens - snapped up the Liz Earle Beauty business from Avon.

Liz Earle, which is a premium UK skincare and botanical range that uses naturally active ingredients, was bought by Avon in March 2010 in a deal that is said to have netted entrepreneur Liz Earle a multimillion-pound fortune.

Ms Earle - a former health and beauty journalist - co-founded the business in 1995 with friend and beauty industry marketing expert Kim Buckland after becoming frustrated by the lack of natural products that suited her own sensitive, eczema-prone skin.

Her at-home skincare remedies then evolved into Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare.

Based in Ryde on the Isle of Wight, Liz Earle now employs more than 600 people.

Sheri McCoy, chief executive of Avon, said: "Liz Earle is the perfect fit for Walgreens Boots Alliance, where it already has a strong presence in its retail stores."

Details of the deal came as Walgreen Boots Alliance hiked full-year profit expectations as it announced third quarter figures showing a 40% leap in underlying net earnings to $1.1bn (£714m).

Sales across the Boots chain - which operates almost 100 stores in Northern Ireland - in the UK helped the wider group's international retail pharmacy division post a 3.2% rise in like-for-like store sales.

Overall group sales rose 48% to $28.8bn (£18.7bn) in the three months to the end of June.

The group recently said it would axe 700 non-store jobs across its Boots UK division as part of the wider group's aims to slash costs by $1.5bn (£974m).

Belfast Telegraph