U.K. health, beauty chain boots expands in Thailand

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BANGKOK--Boots, the British health and beauty store operator, is to invest $14.3 million in 30 new outlets, adding to its existing 70 shops in Thailand. Two thirds of the stores are scheduled to open in Bangkok, with the rest in outlying provinces.

In addition, the company will implement a new supply management system this year at a projected cost of $2.1 million, says Helen Miller, product and marketing director. "We are using primarily email to order products from some 1,000 overseas suppliers. The new supply chain management system would link all stores [worldwide] online, with the company being able to manage stock and delivery more easily."

In a related move, Boots Retail (Thailand) has also launched Boots Medilink, an online medical record system for customers. Thailand is the first country outside the U.K. where Boots has introduced this system.

Customers can apply for free Medilink cards at any Boots store, enabling them to access information about their medical history and a list of purchased drugs, provided they have previously bought their medicine at Boots.

"We expect to have 10,000 Medilink card holders by the end of this year and project double that by the end of 2001," says Choojai Rojanasuwan, the company's health care controller.

Copyright October 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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