Boots strikes back with launch of Basics range

Boots has returned fire in the bitter battle with the grocers for market share by launching a cheap and cheerful own-brand.

In a gamekeeper-turned-poacher manoeuvre, Boots chief executive and former Asda chief operating officer Richard Baker is mimicking the good, better and best pricing strategy of the supermarkets.

The 30-product Basics range fills the gap beneath more upscale lines, such as Botanics and No 7, with bottles of conditioner selling for 38p and bubble bath priced at 48p.

'We are confident that these products are superior quality to those available in that range elsewhere in the market, but at prices that will be extremely competitive,' Boots chief commercial officer David Kneale said. 'We want to attract a segment of shoppers back by offering more competitive pricing on the trusted Boots brand.'

Recently arrived Boots store development director Dana Armstrong is working on three new store types - convenience, community and destination. Following the successful trials of its work convenience format in London, another six shops have been created.

Last week, Boots reported fourth-quarter like-for-like sales growth of 4 per cent at Boots the Chemists, and Baker outlined plans to ramp up investment in the chain.

Deutsche Bank analyst Sundeep Bahanda described the investment as a 'bombshell' that would slice£100 million off next year's profits.

'Although we believe that the initiatives are right in the long-term, we are concerned that this modernisation brings a considerable execution risk in the coming months,' he said.