US retailer set to revitalise UK health market

US health food retailer GNC is launching a new UK chain of up to 400 stores incorporating graphics by Manchester consultancy Unit Five.

The first outlet opened in Bristol last week and features what is claimed to be the first interactive screen for health food shops. The touch-screen technology, developed in the US, features graphics by Marcia Berentine of Berentine Design in Portland, Oregon. Interiors have been designed in-house with shopfitter Powells.

Unit Five has produced in-store graphics and packaging for herbal and vitamin ranges to be sold in the new outlets. The market has potential for growth, comments partner Paul Newton. “It’s been seen as a bit cranky up until recently but we’ve tried to change that,” he says.

Margaret Peet, managing director of GNC’s UK arm, says GNC’s 2m investment in technology and design will shake up the market.

New stores in Oxford, Gloucester and Bath will follow, with 15 units due to open by the end of January.

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