Stores programme championed by Baker hits home
Boots's profits tumbled by nearly a quarter in the first half as the retailer's repositioning programme hit home.

Reporting a 23.6 per cent decline in operating profit to£204.5 million, chief executive Richard Baker said it had been a 'demanding year of change'. The retailer is investing heavily in stores, IT and lower prices to see off competition from the grocers.

Core chain Boots the Chemists delivered like-for-like sales growth of 3.8 per cent, with volumes up 6.8 per cent. Sales at Boots Healthcare International rose 4.8 per cent.

Baker said: 'The actions we are taking have impacted on profit but are necessary to deliver a sustainable long-term return for shareholders.'