Boots 'on track' for getting in shape
Boots shares rose to a new 12-month high yesterday after the retailer reported strong first-quarter trading in its Boots the Chemists stores.
The 1,400-strong high street chain saw like-for-like sales rise by 4.6 per cent on last year. The sunny weather boosted sales of sunscreens and hayfever treatments.
Boots is concentrating on its core health and beauty ranges after abandoning the expensive foray into "wellbeing services" pioneered by former chief executive Steve Russell. Ex-Asda man Richard Baker does not take up his post as Boots' new chief executive until 15 September but he is expected to make Boots more price competitive against the major supermarkets.
Gross margins were ahead of last year with the "getting in shape" cost-saving programme "on track," the company said.
"The shares are in a holding pattern until the new chief executive and his strategy emerge," Tony Shiret, retail analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston, said
At the company's annual shareholding meeting yesterday some investors questioned whether chairman-designate Sir Nigel Rudd, would have sufficient time to devote to his role at Boots since he is also also chairman of Pilkington, Pendragon and Kidde, though he is set to give up the Kidde role.
He tried to reassure shareholders that the Boots job would take up most of his time. His appointment was approved although only a quarter of shareholders voted.
Analysts have turned more positive on Boots since the Wellbeing strategy was abandoned and Investec Securities issued a positive research note on the company. One broker said: "We were particularly impressed with the growth in the gross margin given the increased promotional activity via the 'prices you'll love campaign'."
The shares have been helped by a proposed shake-up of the pharmacy market being watered down by the government.
- 1 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 2 Kate Moss: Previously unpublished nude photo revealed by Mert and Marcus
- 3 Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
- 4 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 5 Bad Jews poster 'censored' on London Tube
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
Becky Watts: Four appear in court charged with hiding body parts after teenager's death
Isis 'bulldozes' Nimrud: UNESCO condemns destruction of ancient Assyrian site as a 'war crime'
Professor Brian Cox brands astrology-believing Tory MP David Tredinnick an 'outlier on the spectrum of reason'
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
iJobs Money & Business
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Jemma Gent: In this role you will report to the Head of...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...