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Dutch drugstore chain Kruidvat, owned by A.S. Watson, plans to open a pop-up store in Palamós this summer.

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Watsons Thailand has outlined its growth strategy for 2018. It will continue to invest in opening new stores and upgrading its digital proposition in existing stores.

Online supporting offline expansion

Watsons will continue to expand its physical store network in Thailand. It opened 50 stores in 2017 and will open another 50 in 2018 with the aim to end this year with around 515 stores. 

Further investment has been made on renovating existing stores, eg. its flagship Central World store. The retailer makes it fun for different shopper segments with different zones to try and experiment with products. Watsons plans to renovate 75 existing stores and these new concepts stores will have modern and exciting shopping environments, integrated digital features and improvised categorisation - all of which would appeal to consumers.

Seamless experience is key

Watsons' 'Offline+Online' strategy will help the retailer extend its reach to more consumers, offering more convenience and a better shopping experience. The retailer's online platform has been fully operational since 2017 and has proved particularly popular. The retailer hopes to further integrate digital features in store to support offline operations. 

Driving loyalty

The retailer believes online shopping will work alongside its new store opening plan as demand for health and beauty products in the country continues to grow.

With over four million members registered to its loyalty programme, Watsons remains committed to increasing its existing membership to drive loyalty. The retailer has recently launched its new Watsons Elite Card, awarded to its most loyal members to provide additional benefits. Watsons will also continue to develop its private label products this year. It plans to launch over 150 new products from countries including South Korea and Japan, adding to its current portfolio of more than 770 SKUs.

Want to know more?

Retail Analysis Subscribers can read more on A.S. Watson's Strategic Outlook here.

After nearly seven decades, Li Ka-shing has formally stepped down as chairman of CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. and CK Asset Holdings Ltd.

A remarkable career...

The 89-year-old, who announced his retirement plans in March, will handover responsibilities to his eldest son, Victor Li. After a shareholders meeting, Li Ka-shing said, 'I think I’ve done the best of what I can [...] I feel very grateful.' His career began in 1950, setting up a plastics manufacturing company, from which he transformed into a global conglomerate of real estate, infrastructure, retail, ports and telecommunications.

Due to the sheer size of the business, the now former chairman plans to stay on as a senior adviser to ensure smooth transition. Retailers and businesses around the world will be waiting in anticipation to see how Victor Li steers the company in the future.

Toby Anderson leaves A.S. Watson CEO post

Celesio UK has appointed Toby Anderson as its new chief executive officer, a post that he will take up in September. Having relocated to Asia for more than a decade, he worked across various country management roles, spending over seven years as marketing director for Asia and Eastern Europe before moving into the CEO post. For Celesio UK's LloydsPharmacy, Anderson will bring a wealth of experience in operational strategy, know-how for introducing new store formats and the ability to manage large-scale budgets.

Want to know more?

Retail Analysis Subscribers can read more on A.S. Watson's Strategic Outlook here.

A.S. Watson has a diverse retail portfolio, including a range of different health & beauty banners, supermarkets and electrical stores. We review some of the latest new concept Watsons stores in Taiwan, China, Singapore and Russia.

Watsons Tech-Fun in Taiwan

Having revealed its expansion plans last year, Watsons has now launched an innovative new store concept, Watson's Tech-Fun. The new store not only makes use of O2O technologies, but also blends offline and online by utilising different features in store. There are self-checkout counters, large-scale live broadcast screens, virtual technology make-up service, make-up stations and tap & shop digital devices to enhance customer experience. The retailer uses digital technology to showcase the latest fashionable products, but in a fun and engaging way to connect consumers.

'ship from store' service in China 

Watsons has stepped-up its online delivery capability signing onto Cainiao Network’s 'ship from store' service. This enables Watsons stores to act as fulfilment centres to help support online delivery orders. Customers can expect delivery as fast as two hours if they live within a 3km radius of a Watsons store.

The service is available to users of Alibaba's Tmall and more than 200 Watsons stores in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Dongguan are involved. With New Retail innovations driving the demand for fast distribution, the retailer will need to carefully consider the impact how this might impact its in-store operations before looking to roll-out the service nationwide to all its branches.

Watsons integrates Health in SG

Watsons has opened an integrated Health concept store, Watsons Health, to encourage healthy lifestyle and well-being. The store dedicates over 50% space towards health offerings, focusing on three key categories: health & fitness, sports nutrition and homecare, mobility & rehabilitation.

The retailer has partnered Active Health to bring multiple health-related ideas and concepts under one roof. Located in [email protected], one of the largest integrated complexes in the country, the store features a Watsons Pharmacist and Fullerton Health General Practitioner and an interactive area (Active Heath Discovery) for people to learn about managing physical activity, sleep and nutrition. This latest concept store is an example of the retailer's ambition to develop formats that meet the changing needs of consumers.

Spektr rebranded to Watsons in Russia

A.S. Watson has rebranded its 64 Spektr stores in St. Petersburg to Watsons. The retailer has launched over 1,000 new products to drive footfall to stores. The rebranding has been followed-up on the company's local online website. Typical stores carry 9,000 SKUs, focusing on Asian and Korean brands as well as exclusive products.


Want to know more?

Retail Analysis Subscribers can read more on A.S. Watson's Strategic Outlook here.


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