Group sales for the first six months of the financial year ending in September were up 6.0 per cent to £8.95bn (€10.27bn), a figure that represented an increase of 6.6 per cent in constant currency rates.
Breaking the sales figure down, the company’s health and beauty sales were up 2.0 per cent to £3.63bn, while sales for the division in the UK market were up by 1.8 percent.
Categories that performed particularly well within the health and beauty division included self selection cosmetics - thanks to an enhanced product range, premium beauty, fragrances and beauty accessories.
Expansion of skin care brands
The company also noted that the expansion of its No. 7 range with the Protect & Perfect Intense Day Cream with UVA protection, had served to help boost figures.
“Boots has delivered a good performance in a difficult UK consumer environment and we have increased market share in our core health and beauty categories,” said group chief executive Andy Hornby.
On an international basis the company has continued to develop its own skin care brands, specifically by pushing the No 7 brand into new markets worldwide, as well as the expansion of its Boots Laboratories skin care range throughout Europe.
Likewise, the company has continued to develop its pharmaceutical wholesale business on a world wide basis by targeting acquisitions in Germany, Italy and Turkey.
Pharmaceutical sales buoy group performance
The company’s pharmaceutical wholesale division reported a much stronger performance, with sales up by 7.7 per cent to £5.91bn, mainly due to the acquisition of the Hedef Alliance business in Turkey.
The group sales figures were buoyed by the strong gains in the pharmaceutical division, further boosted by positive currency gains that helped to offset the more modest gains in health and beauty.
Looking ahead to the full financial year, which includes the all-important Christmas trading period, the company said that it was well positioned, despite the fact that ‘government and consumer spending is under renewed pressure’.
“We expect to deliver strong results for the full year, driven by our transformation programmes, our differentiated product offering, excellent customer service and international expansion through value-enhancing corporate transactions,” the company said in its financial statement.