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Report predicts health and beauty as U.K.'s fastest growing retail sector

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LONDON A greater number of male shoppers, price inflation and women’s quest for eternal youth will outweigh economic pressures in 2008, driving health and beauty products in the United Kingdom to be the fastest growing retail sector, according to recent research.

In its recent report, dubbed U.K. Health & Beauty Retailers 2008, Verdict Research, a subsidiary of Datamonitor, predicts that health and beauty will take the crown in 2008 as the U.K.’s fastest growing retail sector.

In 2007, consumer expenditure on health and beauty products rose by 4.7 percent to GBP15.6 billion ($30.8 billion), outperforming total UK retail as it has done in every year since 2003. That growth looks to be even stronger in 2008. It forecasts that health & beauty, at 5.7 percent growth, will be the fastest growing retail sector in 2008.

“In uncertain times people are still willing to spend money on making themselves look good and feel good,” stated Carol Ratcliffe, retail analyst at Verdict Research and author of the report. “If you’re holding back from buying expensive items, there is more scope for smaller indulgences. Health and beauty products are ideal for this: it doesn’t cost much to treat yourself and even premium brands are relatively accessible.”

Total sales of men’s toiletries are expected to grow by 7.7 percent in 2008 as wider availability and a better selection of brands and products encourage more men to try new products.

Price inflation is another important factor. Verdict expects these higher costs to be partly passed on to consumers in the majority of beauty categories, with inflation peaking in 2008 across the market as a whole.

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