Friday May 18th 2018

Boots celebrates 120 years on High Street

One of Sheffield city centre’s oldest stores will celebrate 120 years in the same premises on 18 May, with a day of celebration for customers and staff alike.

Boots opened store 56 at 6 High Street in May 1898, and since then has survived the Sheffield Blitz of 1940, overlooked the city’s famous Hole in the Road, had a visit from Miss World, survived recessions and is now thriving in an ever-evolving modern day high street.

Boots has been a mainstay of the British high street for hundreds of years, the national chain began life as a herbal store in Nottingham in the mid 1800s, and is now one of the most recognisable brands on the high street.

Looking into the archives Boots stores used to be home to libraries, would sell records and even wine, to suit the tastes of that era’s British shopper. In Sheffield, the High Street store played an important role during World War I, when one of only 20 Government Information Bureau was opened in store to provide information to the public on national war aims, national services, war savings, food and labour.

After the war, alterations were made to the front of Boots, with the High Street store being given a ‘fine front of grey marble with circular recessed windows’. A decade later, in 1931, the store expanded into 4 High Street, and two years after, opened a Bargain Basement, bringing a new style of retailing to the store. The store continued to change and evolve, undergoing a huge refurbishment in the early 1980s.

To survive centuries of changing shopping habits, Boots has had to adapt in order to survive. No longer just a pharmacist, Boots now sells electricals, baby clothing and accessories, beauty products, fragrance and gifts, and provides an optician and hearing services alongside photo printing, and even travel and dental insurance.

On Friday 18 May, the store will celebrate 120 years with a day of giveaways and activities in store. The first 20 people through the door will receive a goodie bag, including a £5 Sheffield Gift Card. Staff past and present will be dressed up in Victoria finery in a nod to the era when Boots first came to Sheffield, whilst picture boards and old artefacts will allow customers to experience Boots through the ages. Vintage makeovers and special Boots Advantage Card offers will also be available, whilst a brass brand will be playing the classics outside the store.

Marie Wilson, Boots store manager, said: “We are so proud to be celebrating 120 years of care here at Boots Sheffield High Street. Not only are we celebrating the loyalty shown by our fantastic colleagues over the years, but also by our wonderful customers. We know high streets across the UK have faced a particularly tough climate, so being here in the same location after 120 years really is reason to celebrate!”

Diane Jarvis, Sheffield BID manager, said: “For Boots to celebrate 120 years on High Street is not only a milestone for the store but for Sheffield city centre too. Boots is a fantastic example of how a retailer can thrive on the British high street, even through times of change, if they adapt to suit the latest needs of shoppers.

Well done to management, staff and customers at Boots on High Street, and happy anniversary!”

Join Boots on High Street for a day of celebration on Friday 18 May, the store will also be trading as usual.

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