Walgreens Boots Alliance Takes Its Brands to China

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Walgreens Boots Alliance Takes Its Brands to China

By Tim Binder - 09/27/2018

When Walgreens acquired U.K. pharmacy retailer Alliance Boots at the end of 2014, the merger brought Boots’ beauty and skincare products into Walgreens’ stable. 

These brands are not your typical private labels as they have international exposure. Walgreens refers to them as “own brands,” and in news releases confidently presents them as the “iconic Boots beauty brands.”

Knowing that, it came as no surprise that Walgreens Boots Alliance announced on Sept. 20 that it was launching a Boots flagship store on Tmall Global, part of Alibaba Group and a popular online marketplace in China where many international brands are selling their products.

The new Boots flagship Tmall Global store gives Chinese consumers access to some of the most popular Boots beauty brands, initially No7, Soap & Glory and Boots Cucumber, according to the news release.

The release indicates that Tmall Global, launched in 2014, “is Alibaba’s dedicated channel for cross-border e-commerce. It is one of the largest and most comprehensive cross-border B2C online marketplaces, and allows brands and retailers without operations in China to build virtual storefronts and ship products into the country.”

Walgreens Boots Alliance executive vice president Ken Murphy, chief commercial officer and president of global brands, said: “This is a great opportunity for us to increase the internationalization of our products and to utilize the many innovative technologies that Alibaba has developed. At the same time, our collaboration with Tmall Global complements our presence in wholesale and retail pharmacy in China with a new, fantastic channel, through which we can distribute our beauty brands in a market with almost endless possibilities. Today’s announcement is the first step on a path we believe offers both of us incredible potential for the future.”

Earlier this year, news broke that Kroger was selling its Simple Truth private brand on Tmall Global.