The announcement yesterday came as speculation grew that the company may soon use its pounds 600m cash pile to mount another share buy-back.
Boots has ruled out tackling the US market which has been a graveyard for so many UK retailers, but is looking at Europe and the Far East. A store in Dublin will open in October.
Lord Blyth, Boots' chairman, said: "We are all too aware of the problems that have affected other retailers but our approach will be prudent, gradual and pretty long-term."
Boots' ambitions in France and Germany would be hampered by regulations that bar the multiple ownership of pharmacies. However, there is a strong prospect of these markets following the UK's de-regulated approach.
Boots made the announcement as it reported a slight fall in pre-exceptional profits to pounds 493m for the year to March. Boots is undertaking a review of costs, particularly at its Nottingham headquarters where it employs 11,000.
Boots said it would consider a share buy-back "only when the time is right". There was also no fresh news on the fate of Do It All, the loss- making DIY chain jointly owned by WH Smith. Boots' share of Do It All's losses were pounds 10m last year while the Fads and Homestyle businesses lost pounds 12m.
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