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Boots and Watsons announce Taiwan agreement

31 January 2002 - Boots Retail International (BRI) and Watsons have agreed to introduce Boots brand implants in around 100 Watsons stores across Taiwan. The roll out plan will commence in March 2002 and will be completed by early 2003. Boots net investment will be some GBP2 million.

The combined power of the two brands is believed to bring a unique combination to women throughout the island. Both companies have been delighted with the results of trial started last July. The consumer response has been overwhelmingly positive. The addition of unique products sold by Boots has enhanced the feeling of discovery shopping in Watsons where customers are highly appreciative of the extra choice and convenience.

BRI has established a strong brand in Taiwan and Watsons has a nationwide chain of excellent retail stores. Together, it will be possible to create a compelling offer for consumers and real value for each partner.

The implants will occupy approximately 10% of Watsons floor space and offer between 800 and 1200 beauty and personal care products, featuring Boots brands such as No 7, Botanics and 17, and exclusives such as Toni and Guy hair care. Watsons will benefit by the creation of a differential in their offer against the competition, leading to increased footfall and sales.

BRI has been trading in Taiwan for 15 months. There are currently 14 outlets of which eleven are stores and three are trial Watsons implants. Watsons first established in Taiwan in 1987 and now operates 223 stores island wide.

Consideration is being given to expanding the partnership into other Asian markets where Watsons has stores.

Philip Ingham, chief executive officer of A.S. Watson Group Retail Non-Food Division, said, "At Watsons, we always remind ourselves to be consumer-focused. We constantly make the best effort to ensure the quality and variety in stores so as to create the 'Discovery' value for every one of our shoppers. We want them to 'Look good. Feel great. Have fun.' The cooperation with Boots is a breakthrough in the industry which we see will benefit the consumers."

William Cotton, managing director of Boots Retail International said, "Taiwanese consumers value the increased choice given by the Boots brands and exclusives. This cooperation fits very well with the new BRI business model. It offers an opportunity to learn from local partners and achieve pace and scale through rapid distribution across Taiwan".

Notes to Editors

1. Watsons

Established in 1828, Watsons is the largest personal care retail chain in Asia Pacific operating over 550 stores in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mainland China, Macau, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. It is a subsidiary of the world-renowned Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchinson Whampoa Limited (HWL), which has a diversified portfolio in 36 countries world-wide covering ports, telecommunications, property, energy and retail.

In Taiwan, Watsons first established in 1987 and now operates 223 stores and employs over 2,200 people.

2. Pictures

Pictures of the Boots implants in Watsons can be viewed at Picture Editors can download images at