Boots signs Kidston for Christmas push

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The Independent Online

Boots is limbering up for a major assault on the Christmas gifts market by expanding the number of lines it stocks by almost one-third.

Boots is limbering up for a major assault on the Christmas gifts market by expanding the number of lines it stocks by almost one-third.

The health and beauty products retailer plans to sell 2,300 gifts, up from the 1,800 it stocked last year. It will extend opening hours in 1,000 of its 1,400 shops in time for the holiday shopping season.

The group, which plans to increase the 500,000sq ft it devoted to Christmas gifts last year, is seeking to turn its stores into destination shops for harried shoppers seeking inspiration for that special gift.

Boots has signed up Cath Kidston, the interior designer beloved by chichi Notting Hill residents, to design an exclusive range of gifts. It will also sell products from the upmarket beauty shops L'Occitane and Crabtree & Evelyn, which will be exclusive to the retailer.

Customers lapped up Boots' extended gift range last Christmas, helping it achieve a 4 per cent increase in like-for-like sales over the period. "Trading over the past two Christmases has been good because we have given customers what they want. We are increasingly becoming a destination store for gifts," a spokesman said.

The group will follow Marks & Spencer's lead in extending its gift range for men. It is planning to sell Scalextric sets and remote-control cars, and will cordon off areas in some larger stores for demonstrations. It also intends to stock iPods, building on last year's success with portable CD players and digital cameras.

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