Now it's Boots the dentist

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The Independent Online
BOOTS THE Chemist is set to become Boots the Dentist under a plan unveiled yesterday. Boots is planning to open six dental practices next year as part of a trial scheme that could see the high street giant expand further into the dentistry market.

The surgeries will offer a mix of private and NHS services and be located in stores or separate high street locations. The move is part of Boots strategy to offer additional health-related services in addition to its chemist business. It already operates Boots the Opticians which has 285 branches. In April it began offering health and travel insurance. Last year Boots announced plans to open six trial doctor's surgeries in conjunction with medical group Sinclair Montrose. The first two or three should open before Christmas. Boots also began a pilot scheme last year where some stores included service counters advising on skin care, oral hygiene and hair colouring.

"Dentistry in the UK is going through an exciting period of change," said Steve Russell, Boots the Chemists' managing director. "The move is a necessary first step in a programme to explore thoroughly the opportunities in the corporate dentistry market."

The dentistry market is worth pounds 1.9bn a year and grew by 8 per cent last year. Boots needs a capital investment of pounds 3m and revenue expenditure of pounds 7m over the first two years.

Boots is paying pounds 250,000 for Wilson's Dentistry which is one of 27 Dental Body Corporates in the UK. These bodies enable companies to operate a number of surgeries outside the usual partnership structure.

Boots strategy to extend to additional health-related services is something some analysts have long championed.