Having failed to find a buyer for its discount toiletries chain, Kingfisher is trying to drag Superdrug upmarket, with new interiors, in-store concepts and a revamped logo.
Superdrug is determined to play down the moves. A spokeswoman maintains that they are part of an on-going programme of improvements. “We are working on new store concepts, but nothing is finalised and things change all the time,” she says.
However, she confirms that an “integral part of Superdrug’s transition from discount toiletries store to health and beauty specialist has been the rebranding and refurbishment of its stores. We are constantly working with our design agencies to review in-store features”.
Last week Kingfisher indicated that instead of selling it, a flotation was likely for both it and its sister retailer Woolworths.
The pilot of Superdrug’s beauty-only store in Bristol, Superdrug Beauty, is not being rolled out. It is introducing elements of the store to four sites in Milton Keynes, Meadowhall, Doncaster and Nottingham in May.
The four stores, designed by retail specialist CDW & Partners, will be the first to incorporate a redesigned Superdrug logo, understood to be designed by Cherry. CDW senior designer Martin Howells says it is creating fixtures, lighting, in-store graphics and colour schemes.
The stores will combine Superdrug’s beauty element, which includes pampering treatments such as nail bars, with a well-being and pharmacy product offering, he adds.
Two of the four stores, Milton Keynes and Doncaster, are introducing a “consultancy-room” concept run by health specialist Nuffield, which offers treatment for sporting injuries.
Superdrug’s beauty-only store opened in Bristol shopping centre Cribbs Causeway in October (DW 6 October 2000).