Q&A: Does Boots Franchise in the UK?

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Boots logo

Boots stores are a familiar sight on the UK’s high streets. But are there any Boots franchise investment opportunities? Let’s find out.

With 170 years of history and around 2,500 stores, Boots is one of the UK’s most beloved retailers. In fact, there are so many Boots shops, it’s thought nine in 10 Brits live less than a 10-minute drive away from their nearest store. People love them for their huge variety of skincare and cosmetics ranges, including its exclusive brands, such as No7, Liz Earle and Soap and Glory.

History of Boots

Boots has seen huge success since it was founded in the mid-1800s. The retailer was first introduced as a stand-alone herbalist store in 1849, providing affordable alternatives to traditional medicines in Nottingham. John Boot, who launched the brand, passed it down through the male line of his family. He and his descendants built on Boots’ business model to sell stationery and include library facilities in the late 1800s.

By 1920, the brand offered vocational and academic classes to teenage employees through the Boots Day Continuation School and, in 1925, opened the first Boots 24-hour pharmacy in Piccadilly Circus. By 1988, Boots Opticians was up and running and well on its way to becoming the UK’s second largest optical retail brand. Today, there are more than 600 branches in operation.

Boots began to offer its customers healthy rewards in 1997 by launching its own Advantage Card, enabling shoppers to earn points that can be used to secure discounts on future purchases. This proved to be a popular scheme, and now over one in five Brits are active members of it. In 2000, Boots expanded further, giving customers the chance to organise and print their own photographs with Boots Photo.

While Boots has not carried forward all of its original services into its current offering, it does operate a huge variety of different facilities. These include:

  • ‘Midnight’ and ‘24-hour’ pharmacies
  • Vaccination and insurance services
  • Opticians and Hearingcare practices
  • Photo-printing facilities
  • Boots Parenting Club, which helps new parents by offering extra Advantage points, free gifts and expert advice

Boots has also worked to establish constructive partnerships with charities and organisations that help others, such as The Prince’s Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support. Also, the Boots Charitable Trust supports organisations across Nottinghamshire, where Boots originated. Since 1970, it has donated over £10 million to worthy causes.

Does Boots franchise?

There is no doubt that Boots is a huge brand, as it employs over 56,000 people across the UK – 6,500 of whom are qualified pharmacists. But, unfortunately, there are no Boots franchise opportunities, as all branches are company owned.

How to get involved with Boots

Although neither Boots nor its pharmacy stores franchise, investors who are interested in getting involved in the healthcare sector could turn to Boots’ subsidiary brand, Boots Opticians. The optical franchise, which conducts eye tests and sells glasses and contact lenses across the UK, is 100 percent franchised. So, franchisees keep all of the profits made without having to pay royalties to the franchisor.

With a total investment of £160,000, franchisees can benefit from guidance in site selection, lease negotiation, store design and local marketing. Other perks include internal apprenticeships, pre-registration training and Continuing Education and Training (CET). What’s more, franchisees own the equity within their own business and maintain the right to sell it whenever they wish.

The retail market in the UK

Market research indicates it’s a great time to start a retail store selling cosmetics, toiletries and pharmacy products in the UK. Let’s take a look at some of the most impressive statistics:

The number of pharmacists in the UK is higher now than it has been in the past 10 years, standing at 65,000 people. What’s more, there are 4,590 toiletries and cosmetics businesses in the UK and they generate a combined total of £5 billion every year. This revenue grew by an annual average of 4.5 percent between 2014 and 2019.

Similar franchise opportunities

There are a few alternative investment opportunities if you were set on opening a Boots franchise unit. Carry on reading to find out more about some of the best healthcare, cosmetics and pharmacy franchises out there.


Established in 2000, LloydsPharmacy has branched out to seven European countries and developed a base of 40,000 customers who use the LloydsPharmacy Plus loyalty scheme. This pharmacy franchise is currently looking for entrepreneurs in Ireland to expand the business across the emerald isle.

  • Becoming a LloydsPharmacy franchisee: When you join this franchise, you’ll be able to offer customers high-quality products for a reasonable price. To find out more about the opportunity, click here.
  • How much you need to invest: LloydsPharmacy has revealed some of the biggest investment requirements. These include a franchise fee of €6,500, a stock investment of €12,400 and an IT investment of €12,500. You’ll also need to pay €84 per day of training for a minimum of 30 days.
  • What you get for your investment: You’ll be assigned a dedicated Franchise Area Manager, who liaises with national and international suppliers to get you the best deal. The LloydsPharmacy franchise package also includes promotional material, a high-quality website, business coaching and regular ‘mystery shopper’ feedback.

Innova Pharmacies

This healthcare and beauty retailer has a network of 120 stores across Saudi Arabia and is looking for franchisees to take the brand across the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe. Innova Pharmacies has been in operation since 1994 and has developed a business formula proven to bring success in various territories.

  • Becoming an Innova Pharmacies franchisee: Franchisees will open up a store of between 120 and 240 square metres in size. To learn more about the retail franchise’s investment opportunity, click here.
  • How much you need to invest: Innova Pharmacies hasn’t disclosed how much it costs to launch a new store branch, but you should get in contact with the brand to find out.
  • What you get for your investment: All franchisees get two weeks of pre- and post-launch support, as well as help with finding a suitable site and organising a launch event. You’ll also get on-the-job training and ongoing business monitoring. Up to three of your staff members will then get four weeks of initial training.

Joining the franchise industry

Unfortunately, you can’t open your own Boots franchise unit, but there are other opportunities on offer across the world. If you’re interested in launching your own retail franchise, why not browse our current investment opportunities?

>> Read more articles on the Cosmetic sector

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