Networks vie for Boots European skincare drive

Boots is briefing agencies about a major pan-European initiative on its expanding range of skincare brands, with the aim of turning the company into a rival to L’Oreal and Nivea.

Boots is briefing agencies about a major pan-European initiative on

its expanding range of skincare brands, with the aim of turning the

company into a rival to L’Oreal and Nivea.



Four agency networks have made presentations to senior executives of

Boots, who are looking at international expansion as a complement to the

high-street retail operation - the largest of its kind in Britain -

which has almost reached saturation level.



Now the company is planning to use Western Europe as its launch pad in

its plans to become a major global player in skincare products. A

decision on the pitch is expected within a week.



The main push will go behind so-called cosmaceuticals, a cross between

dermatological products available only on prescription and mainstream

toiletries brands.



The initiative follows two large acquisitions in mainland Europe last

year by Boots, which bought Hermal Kurt Herrman, Germany’s leading

medical skincare company, and Lutsia, the French anti-ageing and acne

prevention product specialist, for a total of pounds 290 million.



’Boots wants to combine its pharmaceutical heritage with its experience

of building toiletries brands,’ an industry source said.



’The aim is to appeal to a new generation of upmarket women looking for

mainstream brands of proven effectiveness.’



Boots’ dilemma in promoting skincare products across the Continent is

how to advertise them without alienating dermatology experts who will

not want their authority undermined by recommending mass-market

brands.



A Boots International Healthcare spokesman said: ’We’re reviewing our

skincare business and we will make an announcement in due course. To say

anything now would be premature.’