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The high street cosmetics and health sector is highly competitive in the UK, with two major players (Boots and Superdrug) taking the lion’s share, but with significant competition coming from supermarkets and department stores. Superdrug was founded in 1966 and stuck around in London for the first decade of its existence, before starting to spread its wings in the late 70s and 80s, to the point where it now has almost 900 stores in the UK, and revenues of £1.2 billion.
For much of its history, the company traded as a discount alternative to Boots, and it proved to be a highly successful strategy, especially considering the cost of branded cosmetics. But more recently, it has undergone a shift, trading on its name as a loved and trusted brand. Superdrug was declared the most trusted high street retailer in the UK Customer Satisfaction Index in 2018, coming fourth overall behind two banks and Amazon.
The opportunity to expand upon this good name was too good to miss, and the company started bringing in more customer-focused operations like nail bars, beauty salons, fragrance stands and medical rooms. This shift was accompanied by a complete re-think of the aesthetics of its stores to take it more upmarket. And that’s when they needed the help of McLennan.
In 2018, Superdrug signed a £360,000 contract to renovate existing stores’ electrical installations and to install all the electrics in new stores. That includes everything from mains and sub-mains equipment to customer-facing display and lighting installations.
At the time of writing, we have completed 36 overhauls and new installations, but this number is ever-growing as we complete more stores.
With new stores, we are responsible for the initial power setups and temporary lighting for the builders and shop fitters to work safely and efficiently. We’re also involved with all the emergency lighting and other essential installations, which keep everything safe for installation staff, shop workers and eventually customers.
Next, we design and install all the relevant air conditioning and ventilation systems to make sure the shops are safe and comfortable places for all who are in the spaces, be they staff or shoppers. This is an essential part of the process of providing a calm environment where customers feel comfortable, and we have years of experience in providing it.
Also, there’s the shop’s lighting. We work hand in hand with the fitters and designers to provide beautiful, vibrant and atmospheric lighting for the various departments of the stores. The lighting in the nail bars and cosmetic counters, for example, needs to be very different to that in the medical rooms. Our lighting is all now energy saving, which chimes with Superdrug’s commitment to corporate social responsibility.
Finally, we provide all inspection of electrical installations, and where necessary, provide staff training and operations manuals for all the electrical installations, so that health and safety obligations for staff and customers are met.
If you haven’t visited a Superdrug for some time, you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise if you visit one of the stores we’ve worked on. Everything is geared towards making shopping a pleasant experience, and McLennan has played a crucial part in delivering the final product.
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