Lifestyle products not so hot
Boots Group's gains in the first quarter were boosted by its healthcare business, with its retail arm suffering from the general malaise.

Group sales rose by 1.9 per cent during the period. Boots the Chemists' total sales increased by 1.5 per cent, while like-for-like sales fell 0.8 per cent. Health and beauty products did well, with rises of 1 per cent and 3.5 per cent respectively, but sales from lifestyle ranges dropped by 2.5 per cent. Revenues from the healthcare arm rose over the quarter by 5.8 per cent.

The retailer acknowledged that dispensary sales had a significant impact on overall performance and that it would expand the business with 35 new licences. Three dispensaries have been opened so far on this basis.

Lifestyle sales suffered from a reduction in photo-processing revenues and a slow take up of summer ranges.

Boots Group chief executive Richard Baker said: 'This is a reasonable performance in a tough market, against our strongest trading period last year. Conditions on the high street are difficult, competition intense and there is nothing to suggest this will change in the coming months.'