Health chain faces threat from US rival

Health and nutrition retailer Holland & Barrett is facing a challenge to its dominance with the launch of a US player on the UK high street.

Health and nutrition retailer Holland & Barrett is facing a challenge to its dominance with the launch of a US player on the UK high street.

General Nutrition Corporation is launching its first store in October and plans to launch a further 14 by the end of the year. It expects to have 400 outlets in the UK in five years.

Margaret Peet, managing director of GNC UK, who formed the Health & Diet Group in 1983, says there are shortfalls in the products offered by Holland & Barrett. Consumers demand better quality and a wider selection, requirements that Peet says GNC can meet.

Holland & Barrett opened its first stores in the UK in 1976 and now has 391 nationwide.

The GNC stores will be launched with a gold card loyalty scheme which will give consumers 20 per cent discounts on the first Saturday of every month. The US Gold Card scheme has 2 million members in the US.

Last November, GNC bought the UK’s Health & Diet Group, which has 1,400 stores throughout Europe, 25 of which are in the UK. These stores will continue to be called Health & Diet.

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