90’s Christmas commercial from Boots Chemists.

The Boots Company, commercially known as Boots is a leading pharmacy chain in the United Kingdom, with outlets in most high streets throughout the country. Its parent company, Boots Group plc merged with Alliance UniChem plc on 31 July 2006 to become Alliance Boots.

History

Boots was established in 1849, by John Boot. In 1920, Jesse Boot sold the company to the American United Drug Company.  However, deteriorating economic circumstances in North America saw Boots sold back into British hands in 1933 with the grandson of the founder, John Boot, who inherited the title Lord Trent from his father, at the head of the Company.  In 1968 it acquired the 622-strong Timothy Whites and Taylors Ltd chain.

In 1982 the company opened a new manufacturing plant in Cramlington, Northumberland.

In 1991 Boots started to diversify and bought Halfords, the bicycle and car parts business.

In the early 1990s the Company also developed the Children’s World business but sold it in 1996 to Mothercare.

Boots branched into dentistry in 1998, with a number of stores offering this service.  Boots sold its Do-It-All home furnishings chain to Focus in 1998.

In 2002 Boots sold Halfords.

Boots also made a venture into “Wellbeing” services offering customers treatments ranging from facials, homeopathy, and nutritional advice to laser eye surgery and Botox but these services were abandoned in 2003.

In late 2004 Boots also sold off the Lasix eye surgery services to Optical Express.

Boots has also diversified into the research and manufacturing of drugs. It developed ibuprofen, a painkiller and in 1994 divested production to BASF, and in 2006 sold the Nurofen brand to Reckitt Benckiser.

In 2005 the Company considered moving into selling sex toys but then announced that they had decided not to.

On 1 October 2005, rumours began to spread that Boots and Alliance UniChem were planning to merge, although there had been no official announcement. This was formally announced on 3 October by the Chairman of the Boots Group, Sir Nigel Rudd. He said of the deal, “I believe that this merger does an awful lot for customers, for shareholders, and for indeed the employees”. On 3 October 2005, the merger was confirmed, and the new group took on the name Alliance Boots PLC. The merger became effective on 31 July 2006.

Info gleaned from Wikipedia

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