By Kristy Dorsey

Historic Scottish herbalist Napiers is set for “significant” expansion following its £1.7 million acquisition by e-commerce group Samarkand.

Founded in Edinburgh in 1860, Napiers employs 50 people across its three branches in Glasgow, Bathgate and the Scottish capital selling herbal remedies, food supplements, skincare and wellness products. It is being sold by a group of shareholders including Monica Wilde and Dee Atkinson who have led the operation for a number of years, and will be staying on with the business.

A spokesman for Samarkand – which was founded in London in 2016 with a focus on connecting Western brands with China – said the group plans to “significantly” increase staffing numbers with the expansion of Napiers’ presence in the UK and abroad.

More than 5,000 customers a year currently consult with Napiers practitioners, with products also stocked in Selfridges and John Bell & Croyden, pharmacists to the Queen. The business generated revenues of £1m during the year to the end of March, with earnings of £240,000.

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“Samarkand Group is very aware of the history and responsibility we have as custodians of an iconic and important Scottish brand and will continue to fulfil our obligation to the valued customers that have used Napiers for many years,” the spokesman said.

Established by renowned herbalist Duncan Napier, the brand still operates from its original apothecary in Edinburgh’s Bristo Place. The shop was revived in the 1990s by Ms Atkinson, where she practices as a medical herbalist.

The transaction involves an initial cash payment of £1.7m, plus a deferred consideration of £100,000 cash between six and nine months after the deal is completed. Further small contingency considerations may also be payable after the acquisition, settled in either cash or shares.