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Boots sees brand products sales up 6%, good growth in cosmetics

27
Jul '05
Nottingham based beauty products retailer Boots Group PLC's Chief Executive, Richard Baker, commented the update on trading performance first quarter of 2005/2006.

This is a reasonable performance in a tough market, against our strongest trading period last year. Conditions on the high street are difficult, competition is intense and there is nothing to suggest this will change in the coming months.

The priority remains to reinvest in the business to build a better Boots. Good growth in our core markets demonstrates progress in re-establishing our position as the health and beauty expert.

Volume growth of 5% in Dispensing continues to reflect our focus on healthcare although regulatory price changes are deflating headline sales growth. They are encouraged by the customer response to our investment in new beauty halls and own brand products with sales in Beauty up 6%.

Underpinning all of our efforts will be close management of costs and working capital and continued improvement of the efficiency of our operations.

Boots The Chemists
Sales growth in Boots The Chemists in the quarter was 1.5%, -0.8% like for like. Recently opened stores are trading in line with expectations and full year planning assumptions are unchanged.

In Dispensing, items growth of 5% (4% underlying) builds on the improved performance achieved in the last financial year. Applications have been made for 35 new pharmacy licences following partial deregulation; 32 have already been approved, of which three are now trading with the majority of the rest due to open during Q2.


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