Suncare war hots up as Boots reduces prices

THE price war in suncare products intensified yesterday when Boots, the biggest retailer of sunscreens and suntan lotions, cut prices by up to a third on selected brands in its 1,100 shops.

Its biggest rival, Superdrug, sparked off the war last month, announcing 25 per cent reductions on brands such as Ambre Solaire, Nivea and Piz Buin. Tesco and Lloyds Chemists followed. Boots and Superdrug, the second-largest player in the pounds 110m suncare market, are locked in a legal battle over their own-label lotions. Boots, maker and retailer of the Soltan brand, has accused Superdrug of 'passing off' with its Solait brand. On 19 May, in the High Court, it will seek an injunction to have Solait removed from Superdrug shelves.

Boots has 47 per cent of the suncare market and makes gross margins - the difference between the buying and selling price - of about 60 per cent, Superdrug claims. From today in Boots, 200ml of Ambre Solaire Milk is down to pounds 4.79, compared to pounds 5.39 at Superdrug; 400ml of Nivea Sun Lotion is cut to pounds 6.99, compared to pounds 7.49 at Superdrug.

Superdrug is owned by the Kingfisher group, which also owns B & Q and Woolworth. Last year it started selling cut-price luxury perfumes in a campaign which ended with the industry being referred to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. Geoff Brady, Superdrug's buying and marketing director, said he aimed to double its market share of suncare products from 8 to 16 per cent this year.

Superdrug had identified several other areas where Boots made large margins because it had market share of more than 30 per cent, he said. These include skin care, photographic films, photographic developing and printing, and vitamins.

Mr Brady said that with ozone depletion and the increasing risk of skin cancer, it was irresponsible of retailers to treat sun protection products as luxury items.

A Boots spokeswoman said: 'It's all about giving our customers the best deal on the high street.'

Manufacturers of suncare products suggest to retailers a recommended selling price. This is not binding, but until recently most retailers have stuck to it.

Suggested Topics
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits