Boots Opticians' operating income more than doubled in the year ended March 31, increasing by 113.6 percent to £9.4 million (e14.5m-$14.3m). The result can be attributed to considerable streamlining and the reorganization of various aspects of the chain conducted by Norman Usher, who was appointed as its managing director about one year ago after running Boots Healthcare International, another operation of the British Boots retail group which is twice as big.

Boots Opticians' performance was very strong in the 2nd half, reflecting in particular to a smart look for many refurbished stores, better product ranges and strength in contact lenses. The chain's sales increased by 4.4 percent to £204.7 million (e316m-$312m). That included revenues of £9 million (e13.9m-$13.7m) from Boots' new LASIK business, which broke even in its first year of operation. The excellent results have led the group to decide to double to 10 the number of Boots LASIK clinics this year.

For the whole Boots Group, earnings before taxes and exceptional items showed an increase of 9.9 percent to £638.7 million (e985.6m-$973.8m) on 2 percent higher revenues of £5,332.2 million (e8,229m-$8,130m). A total of 300 stores throughout the group, including some Boots Opticians units, will be refurbished this year for a total budgeted cost of £170 million (e262.4m-$259.2m).

While the number of optical stores remained more or less constant, the Boots group opened last year 24 new dental practices and 47 hearing care centers.