Trading strong at the group
Alliance Boots has announced that the integration between Boots and Alliance UniChem is on track and the trading of both businesses is meeting expectations.

The health and beauty group made the statement in the run-up to the announcement of its half-year results in mid-November.

'Since the merger was completed on July 31, trading has continued in line with our expectations. The integration programme is proceeding to plan and the group is in good shape going forward,' said Alliance Boots chief executive Richard Baker.

The company said that the UK businesses had seen 'good sales growth' during the hot weather in July. The health category is performing reliably, benefiting from increased membership for the Boots Health Club. Sales growth in cosmetics and fragrance is also strong.

On the pharmacy side, the company expects to take a hit from changes in the way that the NHS pays for generic drugs, which are due next month. The retailer said it was taking steps to mitigate the impact of these changes.

Wholesale was also performing well. Boots recently signed an exclusive logistics deal with Pfizer and had just received regulatory approval for the acquisition of a wholesale pharmaceutical business from Cardinal Health UK.

Boots had been restructuring its wholesale warehouse operation, but there was a threat that the French government could restrict further healthcare expenditure later this year.