Retail & Innovation

Putting our best face forward

Newest No7 product marks some important firsts for WBA – the first retinol formula for the brand and the first global launch since the formation of the company.

By Brittany Kruk

No7 retinol product

On May 14, a big, bright purple banner on Boots.com shared a subtle hint with the masses: “Something NEW is coming!”

These four words were all it took. Within 24 hours, more than 48,000 people in the UK had joined a waitlist to get pre-sale access to the newest No7 product. And they didn’t even know what it was.

But they did know No7. Before the waitlist closed a week and a half later, and the product was revealed to be No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Complex Night Concentrate, the number of sign-ups had leapt to more than 100,000 – the most for any new product in Boots’ history.

Hnads holding No7 advanced retinol complex product

And history was likely one of the reasons why. No7 launched in 1935 and has been a trusted brand for 85 years. It’s currently the No. 1 skincare brand in the UK and No. 1 serum brand in the U.S

This was a particularly significant milestone for WBA, marking the company’s first global product launch since its formation in 2014 – during a pandemic, no less.

“I am so proud of the teams who have remained determined, under such unique and unprecedented circumstances, to bring this product to our customers,” says Annie Murphy, global chief commercial officer for WBA. “Working together with our colleagues at Boots UK and Walgreens, we improved our website capacity and introduced new virtual services in the UK to help ensure our customers can still get the care and advice they expect from our No7 beauty advisors.”

The science of skincare

Another first for WBA is launching a product with retinol – an ingredient commonly considered by many to be the gold standard in anti-aging – after more than two decades of clinical trials in collaboration with University of Manchester dermatologists and skin scientists in the UK.

First came the trials, and then came the breakthrough – the discovery of a “sweet spot” for delivering retinol that centers on “less is more,” which led to the development of the formula. Although there are other formulations on the market, retinol is inherently unstable as an ingredient, which means it breaks down easily when exposed to air. So the No7 formula is packaged under nitrogen conditions with an airtight pump to protect it. This depth of science, and the overall research-driven approach to the product, shows how WBA’s holistic approach to health and wellness also comes to life in our skincare brands.

“This No7 retinol product aims to be a game-changer for millions of people around the world who want to transform the appearance of their skin by reducing visible fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation; refining pores; and evening out skin tone and texture,” says Dr. Mike Bell, No7 skincare scientific advisor.

As of June 1, No7 Advanced Retinol 1.5% Complex Night Concentrate is available in the UK via Boots.com. In the U.S., it can be found in Walgreens stores as well as on Walgreens.com and our direct-to-consumer site us.No7beauty.com. The rollout is planned to hit additional markets by September, including in Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar.