30/09/2005

Boots reports drop in sales

Health and beauty retailer Boots has reported a fall in first-half sales figures.

The firm said that it now predicted that like-for-like sales at its 1,400 Boots The Chemist outlet stores would likely drop to between 1.1-1.3%.

Boots said that the impact of regulatory price deflation in medicines, had reduced overall like-for-like sales by around 1%. However, the firm said that there had been “encouraging” performance in sales of beauty and toiletry products, with an increase of 3.3%. Dispensing also continued to see strong volume growth, which was offset by the price deflation. Boots reported that trading was weak in other areas, such as food, photographic and electrical sales.

Richard Baker, Chief Executive of Boots Group said: “The encouraging performance of our health and beauty businesses in a tough retail climate reflects our renewed focus and investment in these growing markets.

“Trading conditions have been difficult throughout the first half with consumer spending softening further over the last quarter and we see no sign that the market will get any easier for the rest of the year. Our priority for the second half continues to be delivering for our customers while managing our trading margin, costs and working capital.”

Mr Baker confirmed that the sale of Boots Healthcare International was also “on track”.

(KMcA/SP)

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