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American ownership

Boots sold to United Drug CompanyAmericanOwnership

After the end of the war, Jesse Boot anticipated that the business would soon face the effects of a post-war depression. Increasingly disabled by arthritis, Jesse would soon need to relinquish control. In 1920 Louis Liggett, the head of the United Drug Company, one of the largest pharmaceutical firms in America, purchased the company for £2.25 million.

John Boot becomes chairman of BootsJohn Boot, Jesse's son travelled to America to study the production methods and organisation of the parent company. In 1920 John Boot reorganised the company that had 600 stores across the country, with an emphasis on centralisation and efficiency. The introduction of territorial managers provided a career structure for Boots pharmacists. Investment continued and the 1000th Boots store was opened in Galashiels, Scotland in 1933. John Boot was associated with most of the new developments within the business and became chairman in 1927.JohnBoot

In 1929 The Great Depression in America forced L K Liggett Co. into bankruptcy and Liggett was forced to sell his holding in Boots. In 1933 the company was sold to a group of British financiers for just over £6 million, with John Boot as chairman and managing director. His ideas for the direction and management of the business were to preserve the 'Boots Tradition' to expand the business and serve the public, but also to treat his employees well, which were very close to those of his father.