By  on November 6, 2007

LONDON — Neal's Yard Remedies is preparing to spread its roots.

The natural treatment and health remedies brand plans to expand its U.K. door count, enlarge its flagship boutique here and ramp up its presence internationally.

Company chairman Peter Kindersley said, "We're investing a huge amount of effort and money into the business."

Kindersley, who previously ran a publishing business, took 100 percent control of the firm in September after first taking an 85 percent stake in 2005. The acquisition weighed in at more than 10 million pounds, or $20.2 million at average exchange, according to sources. Neal's Yard founder Romy Fraser continued to work as a company director through the transition period.

Since 2005, Kindersley has been investing in the brand's infrastructure and opening more stores in the U.K.

"A problem for the company has been a lack of capital in the past," he said. "Until we built a factory two years ago we were unable to meet demand. Now we're looking at extending the factory."

According to industry sources, sales in 2006 totaled 11 million pounds, or $20.3 million, and this year they're set to hit 14 million pounds, or $29.1 million at current exchange. In 2008, that figure is expected to rise to 18 million pounds, or $37.4 million, and by 2010 it should reach 35 million pounds, or $72.8 million.

"We're in a market which is moving quite fast now," said Kindersley of the natural cosmetics segment, which has been booming in recent years. "[Neal's Yard] is a very iconic brand. It's been around for 26 years so there's experience there."

To underscore the brand's heritage, Kindersley plans to further shore up its position in Neal's Yard, a tony courtyard in London's Covent Garden neighborhood. The brand's flagship there, which is currently its highest grossing location, reportedly generating annual sales of about 1.5 million pounds, or $3.1 million, will be expanded by about 50 percent in coming months. Its layout will also be altered to make shopping for herbal remedies and treatment products simpler.

"It's not going to be a revolution, it will be an evolution," Kindersley said of the new-look space.The brand, which also has nine treatment rooms in an adjacent building, has taken on a third location in the courtyard. It will first be used as a temporary store for the holidays and while the flagship is being overhauled, and later as additional space for treatments.

Plans are also afoot to open more doors in the U.K., where the brand currently has 19 wholly owned doors and 11 franchises. Ten stores are set to open in the next year and Kindersley would like to take the total count to 50 or more doors by 2010.

International expansion in Southeast Asia, the U.S. and continental Europe could also soon be in the cards. Currently, the brand only has export outposts in Japan, where it's sold in 12 doors, as well as e-commerce facilities for the U.S. and Japan.

Kindersley, however, prefers to take a softly-softly approach. "A lot depends on getting the fit right," he said.

In addition, product lines, including men's and hair care ranges will be expanded and the brand is working toward becoming carbon neutral to help combat global warming.

"We're as clean as we could be in terms of ingredients," said Kindersley. "We're a very ethical company."

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