Superdrug sales boosted by heatwave but profits decline

Superdrug’s sales sizzled as summer temperatures soared last year, but the chain has revealed a dip in annual profits amid “challenging times” for the high street.

Revenue at the high street chain was up 3.3% in the 52 weeks to December 29, driven by the opening of 23 new stores during the period.

Sunshine-ready products did especially well due to the heatwave, with sales of bronzing gear up 29% and the Solait suncare topping the bestselling products.

Meanwhile, sales of own brand vegan products were up 25%, as more consumers switched to conscious consumption.

However the business, which is part of global health and beauty retailer AS Watson Group, reported a pre-tax profit of £88.3 million, down from £92.9 million in 2017.

Peter Macnab, chief executive of AS Watson Health & Beauty UK, said: “We are pleased with the company’s performance in challenging times, and I’d like to thank every team member for their hard work and contribution to these results.

“Our strategy for 2019 is to ensure we are offering all our customers everyday accessible health and beauty, giving them the beauty and health services they need in a vibrant and friendly store environment.”

Last year also saw the launch of Superdrug’s controversial Botox and dermal filler offers at its flagship London store, boosting health services sales by 84%.

In January, the chain agreed to screen customers for mental health problems before carrying out the procedures following an intervention by Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director.

The brand became the biggest operator of nail bars and brow bars, with a total of 100 and 330 respectively.