Hong Kong-established health and beauty retail group AS Watson is planning to open more than 1,300 new stores to expand its presence on a global scale.

The company has taken this decision as part of its investment plans for store openings, customer service and digital transformation.

AS Watson group chief operating officer Malina Ngai said: “Growth in terms of store numbers is just part of the picture, we are well aware that offering the best customer service and ensuring customer satisfaction is key to our continued success.

“The way that our customer’s shop is continually changing and we know how important it is to keep at the forefront of changing trends and innovation by the effective use of big data.”

Last year, the retailer announced plans to invest $70m in building big data capabilities to enhance customer experiences and business efficiencies.

“When 70% of your colleagues are Generation Y and Z, it’s vital to talk to them in the right way, to enable them to service today’s customers.”

For this initiative, the company has partnered with Toronto-based software platform for retailers Rubikloud. The investment is supported by a programme of collaborations with suppliers.

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Ngai added: “Digital transformation in organisations so often focuses on technology investment and new digital applications, and ignores the human touch.

“When 70% of your colleagues are Generation Y and Z, it’s vital to talk to them in the right way, to enable them to service today’s customers.”

The retailer currently operates more than 14,300 stores in its 24 markets under 12 retail brands, including Kruidvat, Superdrug, and ParknShop.

Kruidvat operates 1,000 stores in the Netherlands and Belgium, Superdrug has 800 stores in the UK and Ireland, while ParknShop operates 340 supermarkets in Hong Kong, Macau, and Mainland China.