Boots began in 1849, when John Boot opened a small herbalist store on Goose Gate, Nottingham. His main custom was the local working poor who could not afford the services of a doctor.
After Mr Boot’s death 11 years later, the store continued trading under the guidance of his widow Mary, and their son Jesse. In 1877, Jesse took control.
Jesse's talent for business was soon evident. He expanded the range of products he sold to include proprietary medicines and household necessities. He adopted a strategy of buying stock in bulk and selling his goods much cheaper than his competitors, advertising under the slogan "Health for a Shilling".
Within four years, Boots moved to larger premises and by 1884, further shops had been opened as far afield as Lincoln and Sheffield. A qualified pharmacist was employed to dispense medicines.
In 1890, there were 10 stores, but by the outbreak of the Great War there were 550 stores throughout England, Scotland and Wales. The range of products sold also expanded beyond traditional chemist lines - from stationery, to silverware and picture framing. The company also manufactured own brand products and conducted research into new pharmaceuticals and chemicals. Sites on Island Street and Station Street in Nottingham housed Boots growing factories, warehouses, laboratories and offices.
With failing health, Jesse Boot sold the company to the United Drug Company of America. During the next 13 years of American ownership Boots continued to prosper and grow: a new manufacturing site was acquired at Beeston in 1927 and in 1933 the 1,000th Boots store was opened. In 1933 the United Drug Company sold its holding in Boots to a group of British financiers led by John Boot, Jesse's son.
John Boot expanded the business overseas and introduced lines that are still in production today. He also continued his parents' tradition of staff welfare - improving working conditions, reducing hours and introducing pensions for all employees.
Perhaps one of the biggest boons in the company’s history was the creation of the National Health Service in 1948 and the vast increase in dispensing that followed.
In 2006, Boots merged with Alliance Unichem, to become part of Alliance Boots, an international pharmacy-led health and beauty group. In June 2007 Alliance Boots was acquired by AB Acquisitions Limited (a company jointly controlled by certain funds advised by KKR and Stefano Pessina), and its shares were de-listed from the London Stock Exchange.
Worldwide expansion grew steadily. With stores opening in numerous countries and name brand goods sold to third party stores and companies.
In 2012, American drug store chain Walgreens acquired a 45% stake in Alliance Boots.
Address: 1 Thane Rd, Nottingham NG7 2TG
Telephone: 0115 950 6111
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