Health and beauty powerhouse Alliance Boots is on track to meet its financial targets this year despite tough trading conditions.

Alliance Boots reported first-half sales growth of 0.4% to £3.65bn at its health and beauty division, which includes retail business Boots UK. Like-for-like retail sales inched up 0.7% at Boots UK in the six months to September 30. Like-for-like dispensing volumes were ahead 1.8%.

Pressures on consumer income leading to reduced high street footfall, especially outside London, took a toll on Boots. However Alliance Boots executive chairman Stefano Pessina was pleased with how the retailer had fared.

He said: “Boots delivered a good performance, taking into account the difficult UK consumer environment and governmental measures to curb healthcare spending. This was a result of its ongoing focus on value, customer care, innovation and costs.”

Categories such as vitamins, premium beauty and self-selection cosmetics were among the best performers and the retailer increased its market share in beauty, helped by the strength of its No 7 brand.

At group level Alliance Boots, which also has a big pharmaceutical wholesale division, generated a sales rise of 31.3% to £11.74bn and said it was on target to meet its operational and financial targets for the year.