No sweat for Tesco as it pulls ahead in toiletries

Tesco has continued to pull away from health and beauty specialists Boots and Superdrug in the toiletries market, according to the latest market share data.

Over the past two years, Tesco has grown market share by volume in toiletries to the extent that it sells more than the two chemists put together, and now the retailer has extended its lead even further.

TNS figures, seen by Retail Week, reveal that in the 12 weeks to April 25 Tesco's share stood at 22.5 per cent, up from 21.2 per cent a year earlier. Boots slipped back to 13.8 per cent from 14.5 per cent a year ago, while Superdrug fell back from 8.1 per cent to 8 per cent. Both Asda and Sainsbury's grew market share, but combined do not match Tesco's sales.

A Tesco spokeswoman said: 'Customers vote with their feet. That is why we continue to take market share away from our competitors. We will continue to invest in price.'

At last week's preliminary results, Boots said beauty and toiletry sales rose 4.7 per cent to slightly less than£2 billion. Sales of premium cosmetics increased 10 per cent.

Boots chief executive Richard Baker said the chemist would continue to invest in the Lower Prices You'll Love campaign, which has reduced the cost of 2,000 items by 18 per cent.

In the year to March 31, sales from continuing operations at Boots increased 5 per cent to£5.3 billion. Profit before tax and exceptionals rose 3 per cent to£544.6 million.