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Celebrating 50 Years of Care in Northern Ireland

21 June 2016
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In 1966, the year that David Jones became Bowie, Cassius Clay defeated Henry Cooper, Seamus Heaney published his first poetry collection ‘Death of a Naturalist’ and mini-skirts were the height of fashion, Boots opened its first store in Northern Ireland at Belfast’s Cornmarket.

Last week, we marked the special milestone, celebrating 50 years of helping customers feel good in Northern Ireland, through our 84 stores and 1,600 colleagues working in the heart of communities right across the province.

Simon Roberts, Executive Vice President of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. and President of Boots was in Belfast to lead the celebrations. Simon, comments:  “We are very proud of the evolution of Boots in Northern Ireland from that single pharmacy in Cornmarket to having a major presence in towns and cities across the country.  Delivering healthcare is at the heart of what we do and our team of over 210 PSNI registered pharmacists make us one of the largest employers of pharmacists.  Supporting the local community is also very important to us and I would like to pay tribute to our teams who do much to support local organisations, charities and patient groups, and also their dedication and hard work to provide care for our customers and patients every day.  For the last fifty years, Boots has played an integral role both in the health, beauty and wellbeing of local people and in our contribution to the local economy.  We can now look forward to the next fifty years of care for our customers with confidence.”

Simon was joined at the celebratory event in the Europa Hotel by Marco Pagni, Executive Vice President, Global Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.; Anne Higgins, Head of Customer Experience for Northern Ireland at Boots UK and Marie Smith, Country Pharmacy Manager in Northern Ireland for Boots UK.  Representatives from business organisations, the health sector, current and former colleagues as well as elected representatives also attended.

Boots first brought its distinctive blue and white logo its first store in Cornmarket in 1966, then steadily growing its presence by opening new stores and through acquisitions, bringing both new pharmacy services to NI as well as introducing Boots brands such as No7, Boots Soltan and SEVENTEEN.  In 1998 Boots acquired Connors adding 25 pharmacies to the portfolio with a further 45 stores added seven years later through the purchase of the former Bairds Chemists.


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Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and 2,100 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175th anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain. Throughout its history, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail.  More company information is available on

*Figures accurate as of 30 November 2023