Boot sales fall by 0.8 per cent
July 21, 2005
Retailer Boots reported a fall in like-for-like sales today as it warned trading conditions were likely to remain tough in the coming months.
The group, which has an estate of about 1,400 stores, posted a 0.8 per cent decline in same-store sales at Boots the Chemists outlets for the first quarter of the financial year - a performance it called "reasonable" in a tough market.
Market analysts had been expecting a fall of between one per cent and two per cent for the
period, which was up against strong trading figures from a year earlier.
Boots said recently it was looking for like-for-like sales growth of between zero and two per cent across this year, while also reinvesting in the business.
Chief executive Richard Baker said the moves to re-establish the retailer as a health and beauty expert had started to pay off with growth in core markets, although he added that trading conditions remained tough.
He said: "Conditions on the high street are difficult, competition is intense and there is nothing to suggest this will change in the coming months."
As well as six per cent growth in sales of beauty products, Boots said business in over-the-counter medicines and toiletries had been strong.
Sales were weaker in the company's lifestyle categories with a continued decline in the photo market and a slow start to its summer ranges.
Boots said volume growth in dispensing was offset by price deflation of five per cent, which included the impact of regulatory price changes.
At the company's Healthcare International division, which makes Nurofen and Strepsils, comparable sales were ahead by 6.8 per cent in the first quarter.
The sale of the division, which was put on the market earlier this year, was "proceeding in line with plan" and set to be completed by the end of the financial year, the company added.
More than 10 groups are believed to have expressed
interest in buying the business, which has a value of more than £1 billion.