Alliance Boots has said customer service and value have been the main drivers in helping it deliver sales growth of 11.6% to £9bn in the six months to September 30.

The health and beauty retailer said its half-year results are ahead of expectations, meaning it is well on track to deliver its 2009/10 targets.

Alliance Boots - parent to Boots UK - delivered sales up 6.2%, or 5.4% in constant currency, to £3.6bn at its health and beauty division. Boots UK like-for-like sales climbed 3.4% and total sales rose 4%.

Financial director George Fairweather said: “We continue to improve our customer service and product offering and that has helped us deliver strong results.”

Fairweather said shoppers in the health and beauty sector are seeking advice and value, adding “that’s why Boots’ customer care and products have been popular”. He said Boots’ own-brand products have become more popular in the tough climate as “people trust the Boots brand”.

The group’s figures are the first since it hired former HBoS chief executive Andy Hornby as group chief executive.

Fairweather said it is difficult to read what will happen with the economy but “we are confident we will continue to perform well over the next six months and through Christmas”.

In the period, the retailer completed the merger of Boots Opticians with Dollond & Aitchison.

Boots UK dispensing volumes increased 5%, up 4.3% on a like-for-like basis. The group has opened a further four doctors’ surgeries in Boots shops, taking its total to 10.

In September, Boots UK launched a pharmacy-led service to help protect women against two of the viruses responsible for cervical cancer. Following a pilot in London, the service is now being expanded to 134 Boots stores.

In October, the group launched BootsWebMD, its health and wellness information portal. The order online and collect in-store service is now available in nearly 2,000 Boots shops across the UK.

In the pharmaceutical wholesale division, revenue jumped 13.8%, or 6.7% in constant currency, to £6bn.