City File: Boots stepping out on the offensive

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BOOTS paid through the nose when it acquired Ward White, the Halfords and Payless DIY owner, four years ago. The chemist retailers' shares have been suffering ever since. But so confident is Boots that it has at last turned the corner - at least as far as Halfords is concerned - that 50 analysts and fund managers will be taken on a fact-finding tour around one of the car maintenance chain's branches tomorrow.

After a presentation at the Birmingham Motorcycle Museum, they will visit a nearby Halfords superstore. While the high-street outlets are doing relatively well, Halfords' out-of- town superstores, which include service centres, have been faring badly. Clearly Boots must feel that at long last it has got them to work. Boots is also going on the offensive this week with Manoplax, its new heart drug. Trade journalists and analysts will be told on Wednesday just what the drug can achieve.