A.S Watson Group celebrates 180 years with virtual cocktail

Hong Kong-based A.S. Watson Group hosted a virtual cocktail party today to mark its 180th anniversary, which the retail group will celebrate next year.

The cocktail brought together more than 300 guests from around the world, including A.S Watson management and the group’s charity and brand partners. BW Confidential was among the guests at the celebration.

During the event, top executives from major brands around the world delivered congratulatory messages to the retailer. They included: L’Oréal chairman and ceo Jean-Paul Agon, Unilever ceo Alain Jope, Estée Lauder Companies group president international Cedric Prouvé, Shisiedo president and group ceo Masahiko Uotani and Puig chairman and ceo Marc Puig, among others.

In a speech at the cocktail, A.S Watson Group managing director Dominic Lai commented: “This 180th anniversary celebration is a testament to A.S. Watson’s ability to remain leading in the ever-changing customer landscape for health, beauty and lifestyle products and services around the world.”

He added: “This year, the coronavirus pandemic has confronted the world with unprecedented challenges. Many companies including retailers are struggling to survive. As one of the longest-standing companies in Hong Kong and in the world, A.S. Watson has shown throughout our 180 years of history that we can weather challenging times. Our passion to serve our customers, our agility and constant transformation enables us to adapt quickly to changing environment and stay resilient.”

The celebration also marked another milestone: The A.S Watson Group’s store network reaching 16,000.

As part of the 180th anniversary celebrations, A.S Watson’s businesses around the world will launch activities to engage its employees, customers and to give back to communities.

The group announced the launch of the A.S Watson Smile Community, which aims at reaching 1.8 million smile index by March 2021 to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Happiness. People can become part of the Smile Community by uploading a smiling picture to projectlol.hk.

A.S. Watson Group was founded as a small dispensary in 1841 in Hong Kong. Alexander Skirving Watson, a British pharmacist, was the first store manager of the dispensary and later the company registered under his name A.S. Watson & Company Limited. The group is now the world’s largest health and beauty retailer, operating 16,000 stores under 12 retail brands in 27 markets. For the fiscal year 2019, A.S. Watson Group recorded revenue of $21.8bn.