Holland & Barrett Sweden, part of Holland & Barrett International, Europe’s leading health and wellness retailer owned by international investment business L1 Retail, has acquired Hälsa för alla, the Swedish specialist natural health and wellbeing retailer with 12 retail outlets across Stockholm, Sweden.

The merger will see Holland & Barrett’s Swedish portfolio increase to 16 stores. The retailer has signaled its ambition add to its store base across the region through further merger and acquisition activity.

Hälsa för alla is headquartered in Huddinge, Sweden and was founded in 1986 by brother and sister team Peter Furusten and Siv Britt-Marie Furusten with a focus on health food and beauty retailing.  In 2014 it was acquired under franchise agreement by LIFE Europe AB, Sweden’s dominant health food retailer and distributor.

Holland & Barrett opened its first store in Sweden in 2016, in the prestigious ‘Mall of Scandinavia’, and has since added a further three stores in the Stockholm area.

The merger with Hälsa för alla will quadruple the size of the H&B store portfolio. The retailer says it plans to “build a portfolio of 500 stores across Scandinavia in the coming years”.

All Hälsa för alla stores will be rebranded as part of the integration process and will offer the complete Holland & Barrett product range. Hälsa för alla’s employees and management team, led by CEO Rikard Furusten, will all be retained and the store staff will undertake Holland & Barrett’s accredited nutrition training programme.

Chris Keen, chief financial officer, Holland & Barrett said: “Sweden has for some time been a key market for us given its maturity and well-established consumer appreciation of healthy living.  Today’s merger consolidates our position in Stockholm and provides an important platform for planned further growth of our business in Sweden and across the wider Scandinavian market, which we believe has capacity for some 500 more stores.

“We have shown through our previous acquisitions in both the Netherlands and Belgium that we know how to successfully deploy our logistics, infrastructure and retail expertise to power growth in domestic markets. We already have plans in place to leverage the opportunities presented by our new and larger Swedish portfolio and will be launching a fully functional website in Sweden shortly.”

Hälsa för alla´s chief executive Rikard Furusten added:  “Family Furusten has owned and operated Hälsa för alla successfully for more than 30 years. What we are most proud of during these years are our amazing employees who gave our customers constructive and accurate advice about how they can care for themselves. To be able to meet future consumer shopping demands, whether it is in store or online, I see this merger as the very best option. I am now looking forward to developing and expanding Holland & Barrett Sweden.”

Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark are all continuing to spend more per capita per year in retail than any other country in Europe. Data from Euromonitor International shows that, although the Nordic countries only represent 5% of the total population of Western Europe, their share of retail sales in the packaged food category – which includes natural health products – was almost triple that at 13%. Forecasts for sales of vitamins, minerals and supplements across Scandinavia are also positive, and increasing consumer interest in food intolerance and rising concern about food additives and artificial ingredients is driving dynamic growth in quality, healthy alternatives.

Main picture: Holland & Barrett store, Toby Centrum, Stockholm