Alliance Boots today said demand for its skincare ranges helped boost UK sales despite a “difficult” retail environment.
The group, which reported results for its first full year as a privately owned company, said its Boots UK health and beauty division saw like-for-like sales rise 1.3% in the year to March 31.
Alliance Boots said its own brand No7 cosmetics and skincare brand maintained its market leading position in the UK, with products like its new anti-ageing Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum proving popular.
Stefano Pessina, executive chairman, said the group had continued to “perform well” since the year end.
“As a result we remain confident about our prospects for the year ahead,” he said.
New No7 products launched in the year included Dual Protection Tinted Moisturiser and Extreme Length Mascara. The firm said the Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum, which was launched since the end of March, has “generated considerable media coverage and strong consumer demand”.
Alliance Boots' group trading profit — which includes its share of associates and joint ventures — rose 11.6% to £953m in the year.
The Nottingham-based firm said strong revenue growth across its markets, along with historically low interest rates, had helped it to “healthy” levels of cash flow.
Since taking the firm private in a £11.1bn takeover in 2007, Mr Pessina has acted to transform the group.
Changes included a target of £100m pre-tax cost savings, which he said had been achieved in the year, 18 months ahead of schedule. Mr Pessina said further “significant” savings were still to be made, mainly at UK operations.
He said new developments also included re-branding of Alliance pharmacy outlets into “your local Boots pharmacy” in the UK.
The firm said its medicine dispensing division helped push UK revenues up 7.5% year-on-year.