City File: Boots strides in the right direction

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The Independent Online
BOOTS is expected to reveal a healthy hike in profits on Thursday from pounds 359.5m to more than pounds 400m.

The news should focus attention on the underlying strength of the group, namely its Boots the Chemists chain. Shares have been hit recently by DIY and sun-care price wars, along with scares ranging from Hillary Clinton's clampdown on drugs marketing to too much sugar in babies' bedtime drinks to the prospects for Manoplax, its heart treatment.

The figures will come after last week's deal to take space in Sainsbury's supermarkets, which was well received in the City. They will also disclose a marked fall in net debt from pounds 363m to around pounds 200m.