Analysts expect sale and leaseback agreement to be announced against background of slowing sales
Analysts are anticipating flat fourth-quarter trading for Boots, ahead of its trading update tomorrow. The retailer issued a profit warning in February stating it was unlikely to hit full-year forecasts following a slowdown in sales.

Shore Capital expects the management to use the trading statement to announce strategic initiatives such as the sale and leaseback of properties to raise funds for ongoing share buyback or further store investment.

Goldman Sachs anticipates a like-for-like sales growth of 2.4 per cent for the last quarter of this year, with the largest increase coming from health products. It predicts total sales growth of 4 per cent and a flat gross margin for the 2006 financial year.

Seymour Pierce believes Boots will make an operating profit of between£465 million and£475 million, reflecting slower-than-expected sales and higher operating costs.