Boots’ sales in suncare products dropped after a disappointing summer but sales in its food ranges grew by 3%.

Like-for-like sales at Boots the Chemist are expected to have grown by 3.3%, which is below analysts’ expectations. Total group sales, which includes Boots Healthcare International, rose by 3%.

At the end of September the company announced a greater commitment to food, appointing its first internal food managers and launching other initiatives.

Nikky Wallington was appointed food operations manager and Nina Farrell has become food development manager. The retailer has also replaced its Menu brand with a wider Delicious range, which follows Department of Health guidelines on salt and fat content.

Snacks buyer Ben Wallace said: “We have worked collaboratively with suppliers to get the right proposition. This couldn’t have been achieved without input from Hazlewood Foods and Buckingham Foods.”

Boots has also relaunched Meal Deals under a two-tier offering. Traditional promotions cost £2.39 and consist of any sandwich or salad with a red symbol, a 500ml soft drink and crisps or confectionery. An indulgent option, costing £2.99, offers more choice, consisting of any sandwich or salad with a green symbol, any drink and any snack or dessert. Central London prices are slightly higher.

Wallace said Boots’ strategy was proving lucrative, with first quarter food sales up 11.5%. Some 630 out of 1,400 Boots stores sell food.
Less than half of its 25 million customers buy food and drink from Boots stores, presenting it with massive opportunities.