Boots invests pounds 300m in four-year growth drive

Boots is to invest pounds 300m in its Boots the Chemists chain over the next four years in a move that will see a marketing push for health and beauty products and new stores added in seven different sizes.

The company also announced a second trial of its Advantage, "smart card" loyalty scheme, though would not commit to a national roll-out.

The investment programme is part of Boots' strategy to underline the strength of the Boots brand and differentiate it from high street rivals.

It follows a period which has seen the supermarket groups expand aggressively into toiletries and health and beauty products while adding pharmacies to stores.

The strategy is designed to prevent the kind of market share erosion suffered by WH Smith after the supermarkets grabbed market share in books, magazines, music and videos.

"We recognise the threat of the supermarkets. It is time to move the game on," said Steve Russell, managing director of Boots the Chemists.

In the company's first presentation on its core business for three years, Boots said it is planning refurbishments for many town centre stores, including 18 in central London this year.

Pharmacy sections will be re-designed adding areas for medical advice "booths". Multi-media kiosks will be introduced to provide more information on product areas such as skincare and oral hygiene. More information will be available in stores.

A dozen new edge of town sites will open in the next two years. A further 240 sites have been identified for small stores, of which 40 will open this year. The number of outlets at Heathrow Airport will be doubled from four to eight.

Other stores will be tailored to their local market, such as "travel" stores at airports and railway stations, which will focus on sunscreens and other travel and holiday-related items. All 1228 stores will be tailored to a specific format in the next two to three years.

It is also intended to reinforce the "added value" of the Boots pharmacy offer at a time when Asda is mounting a continued attack on the price of non-prescription medicines.

Boots made no announcement on its international expansion plans though a move into Holland had been rumoured. Boots will open its first branch in Dublin in the autumn.

Though the company is considering opening stores in continental Europe its ambitions may be limited by legal restrictions.

Boots plans to build a portfolio of "power brands" to add to its No 7 cosmetics range and Soltan suntan lotion. The Natural Collection range of toiletries will be built upon.

The Advantage loyalty card trial which was launched in 13 stores last October in the Norwich area will now be complemented with a second trial with a lower rate of discount.

Boots said the participating stores enjoyed a sales uplift of 3 per cent, enough to make the card pay.

Few analysts have changed their profits forecasts and the shares edged 3p ahead at 587p.

Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Life and Style
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

IT Project manager - Web E-commerce

£65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits