Watson's (Hong Kong)
A Watsons outlet in a shopping mall in Singapore.
|Type||Subsidiary of A.S. Watson Group|
|Traded as||Watsons Your Personal Store|
|Headquarters||Fo Tan, New Territories, Hong Kong|
|Key people||Domonic Lai (Group managing director)|
|Products||Health & Beauty|
|Owner(s)||A.S. Watson Group|
|Watson's (Hong Kong)|
Watson's (Your Personal Store) or Watson's is part of the Health and Beauty retail and consumer division of the Hong Kong-based A.S. Watson Group, which in turn is part of the world wide conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa. The Company operates over 2,200 stores in Asia and Europe, and for the second year running, has been voted the No. 1 in retail – Pharmacy and Drugstore category of Asia's top 1,000 brands.
Dr. Thomas Boswell Watson (1815–1860), was the first member of the Watson family to arrive in the Far East, where in 1845 he set up a private practice in Macau, on the south west coast of China. After selling his practice to a fellow doctor, he moved to Hong Kong in 1856 where he became part owner of the Hong Kong Dispensary, an offshoot of the Canton Dispensary which operated from 1828–1858. Known as the "Big Medicine Shop" (Chinese: 大藥房; Cantonese: Dai Yeuk Fong), the dispensary's main customers were soldiers and sailors. The dispensary was not known as A.S. Watson until 1870 although Alexander Skirving Watson took over in 1858 following management changes. T.B. Watson sent his family back to Scotland in 1857 and he himself followed two years later.
Following the death of Dr T. B. Watson in 1860, the Hong Kong Dispensary was leased to A.S. Watson and two other doctors, and from 1862 onwards, the name A.S. Watson featured prominently at the Hong Kong Dispensary. In 1871, the Watson family leased the company to Dr John David Humphreys and Dr Arthur Hunt, and thereafter trading was executed under the name A.S. Watson & Company. Retail outlets were known as "Watsons the Chemist".
The current owners, Hutchison Group, acquired a controlling interest in A.S. Watson & Co., Ltd in 1963. In 1981, it became a wholly owned subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. At this time, the group had 75 retail outlets.
Retail operations by type
Today, A.S. Watson has retail and manufacturing operations in 37 markets worldwide, and employs over 98,000 staff. Its retail network of over 7,700 stores spans health & beauty chains, perfumeries & cosmetics, grocery, consumer electronics, wine, and duty-free.
In Asia, Watsons main retail business is the "Watsons Your Personal Store" drugstore chain. Watsons now operates this store format in several territories in Asia including Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, The Philippines, Thailand, Macau, and South Korea. It has recently launched this format in Turkey, Estonia, Slovenia and Ukraine.
Other health and beauty
Watsons has expanded rapidly in Europe through a major acquisition programme which has seen the group become the world's biggest health and beauty retailer.
In 2000, Watsons purchased the UK-based "Savers" discount drugstore chain. Subsequently Watsons acquired The Netherlands-based Kruidvat Group, through which the company added over 1,900 stores to its business and for the first time entered the Dutch, German and Belgian marketplaces where Kruidvat traded as Kruidvat, Trekpleister, ICI PARIS XL and Rossmann. This transaction also added "Superdrug", the second largest health and beauty retailer in the UK (after Alliance Boots), to its portfolio.
As at January 2005, the company had some 4,500 shops in 19 countries around the world. More recently Watsons has acquired the "Drogas" drugstore chains, The French-based "Marionnaud" perfumery business in March 2005, The Perfume Shop retail chain in the UK and "Spektr" (СПЕКТР) health & beauty retail chain in Russia and "DC", the largest health & beauty retail chain in Ukraine.
Watsons controls the "PARKnSHOP" supermarket, acquired in 1972. ASW provides a range of beverages from bottled water, fruit juices, soft drinks and tea products to wine via its international wine wholesaler and distributor.
- Waters, Dan (1990). "Hongs Kong's Hongs with Long Histories and British Connections". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch 30: 219–256. ISSN 1991-7295. p. 221
- "Perfume Empire". Oligopoly Watch. 24 January 2005. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
- Pitman, Simon (24 January 2005). "EU agrees Hutchison acquisition of Marionnaud". cosmetics design-europe. Retrieved 26 March 2007.
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