Boots to pull plug on in-house design

Boots the Chemists is in the throes of a far-reaching restructure of its design capability, which will see its in-house Design Services Unit close and puts an emphasis on the outsourcing of design work.

While the outsourcing of the in-house team’s work is still being finalised, it is likely to provide opportunities for collaborations with non-rostered design groups.

Boots creative director Jon Turner remains at the head of the retailer’s design operation and the Boots packaging and interiors rosters will not be affected by the cuts, confirms a Boots spokesman.

‘There are proposals to close the Design Services Unit,’ he says. ‘But we need to talk to our people first.’

Following its announcement about cutting 900 jobs from its Nottingham headquarters, Boots is ‘looking for voluntary redundancies and staff are being offered enhanced redundancy packages,’ he adds.

Turner says he plans to set up a London ‘hub’ inside the Shoreditch offices of ad agency Mother. A consortium of creative groups led by Mother, including Circus and Poke, was appointed to run Boots’ advertising and design creative in December 2003 (DW 18 December).

The design team is made up of some 20 staff.

Turner says the Mother consortium will give Boots an ‘integrated offer’ for marketing services. ‘Design isn’t in there yet, but it can be,’ he says, citing the Circus involvement with the team.

The Boots spokesman was unable to confirm what effect the restructure will have on the roll-out of the retailer’s latest store format in London’s Holborn, which was piloted by 20/20 last year (DW 14 August 2003).

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