Waitrose ends trial of Boots products

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Supermarket Waitrose will no longer stock beauty products from health chain Boots after a trial failed to meet the expectations of both businesses.

The tie-up, launched in March 2010, was seen as a chance for both businesses to improve their offering for customers and to compete against the UK’s top four supermarkets.

But Waitrose has decided to pull Boots products, such as its No7 skincare and cosmetics brand, from the shelves of 13 stores where the trial was conducted.

It is understood customers reacted poorly to the change and complained about no longer being able to buy some Waitrose products.

A Waitrose spokeswoman said: “It didn’t meet the expectations of either partner. But that’s the point of having a trial – to learn what works. The products will be replaced by Waitrose own-label or branded products.”

The 13 trial branches were in Dorchester, Westbury Park, Hersham, Ringwood, Worthing, Bury St Edmunds, Lichfield, Meanwood, Nailsea, Finchley, Lincoln, Wandsworth and Sudbury.

However, Boots, owned by Alliance Boots, will continue to sell Waitrose food lines, such as sandwiches and snacks, which are offered in about 34 stores.

And Waitrose said the changed arrangements will not impact its pharmacy deal with Alliance Boots, and it will keep its Boots-branded chemists in 14 stores.

When the tie-up was launched, Richard Hodgson, commercial director at Waitrose, said: “We want to make Waitrose accessible to more people in more places and this exciting partnership will help us achieve this goal.”