Boots shop

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Boots is preparing to sell one of its most popular personal care brands, according to reports.

The high street chemist, which itself is up for sale, is set to sound out potential buyers for Aromatherapy Associates, Sky News revealed over the weekend.

Any deal would not involve the retailer’s other beauty products brands, which are sold under the No7 label.

Boots bought Aromatherapy Associates in 2014, but industry sources said the business would not be sold for more than “a few tens of millions of pounds” in an auction.

Last week, news emerged that Boots’ owner Walgreens Boots Alliance had hired bankers at Goldman Sachs to explore options for the UK retail arm, with a price tag of up to £10bn placed on the company.

However, an analysis in this week’s issue of The Grocer questioned how much Boots could actually be worth and whether bidders would be prepared to pay more for the business than for recent deals involving Asda and Morrisons.

The Grocer explores what Boots is really worth and who might be interested in buying it.

Morning update

CBD consumer products group Love Hemp has almost doubled revenues as demand for the category continued to grow rapidly.

The business sells a range of CBD oils, capsules and edibles online and in retailers such as Holland & Barrett, Boots, Ocado and Sainsbury’s.

Revenues in the year ended 30 June 2021 jumped to £4.3m, compared with £2.7m in the prior 12 months, and gross profits totalled £1.3m.

Love Hemp is currently listed on the UK’s Aquis Exchange but said today that its plans to move to the main market of the London Stock Exchange were “progressing well”.

The brand signed a licensing agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship during the year and also has a three-year endorsement agreement with boxer Anthony Joshua.

Joshua was the star of the company’s first national media campaign last month, resulting in “a significant number” of new customers and increased revenues from returning customers buying direct from the website, as well as increased orders from major retailers.

Revenues from major retailers including Boots and Holland & Barrett increased 65% in November 2021 compared to the average monthly revenue from retailers in the previous 10 months.

CEO Tony Calamita said Love Hemp had undergone “major” changes in the period.

He added: “Embedding a new team, aligning the business with its new regulatory reporting obligations, and establishing appropriate corporate governance measures has been our priority for the company’s corporate maturation and planned move to the main market of the London Stock Exchange.

“These corporate changes have been alongside delivering growth in revenue, attracting new customers, developing new retail relationships and securing partnerships with leading organisations and individuals. A huge amount has been achieved to date and important preparations have been made for the company’s growth trajectory.”

He said: “This next phase is focused on building brand visibility and loyalty and creating a distinctive position for Love Hemp in the burgeoning CBD wellness sector.”

The FTSE 100 shrugged off worries over the new Omicron variant and the UK’s work-from-home mandate coming into force to open 0.1% higher at 7,299.71pts.

Early risers this morning include SSP Group, up 1.4% to 237.5p, DS Smith, up 1.3% to 391.2p and Kerry Group, up 1.5% to €116.05.

Fallers included Hotel Chocolat Group, down 5.3% to 503.8p, McColl’s Retail Group, down 2.8% to 11.7p, and Deliveroo, down 1.9% to 227.5p.

This week in the City

Things are beginning to wind down as the City prepares for the Christmas break, but there are still some interesting updates scheduled for this week.

Tomorrow brings a fourth quarter trading update from Ocado and the latest grocery sales figures from Nielsen.

The latest UK inflation data is released by the ONS on Wednesday morning.

Friday rounds off the week with the closely watched monthly consumer confidence index from GfK and the ONS retail sales figures for November.