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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

UK drug chain eyes sex toy sales

LONDON, England -- One of Britain's leading pharmacy chains is in talks with a condom maker to sell sex toys in some of its 1,400 stores.

Boots said Friday it has been discussing the possibility of selling Durex vibrators, massage oils and other sex toys for about a year.

If plans are approved, the products are "likely" to hit the shelves next year and will be sold on a "store-by-store basis," Boots spokesman Donal McCabe said.

"There is a market for them. Other people have brought them on to the high street. We are a modern retailer, we respond to modern demands and trends.

"People are much more comfortable discussing their sexuality and sexual problems. It's considered much more acceptable to seek help or to buy things to improve our sex life," UK's Press Association quoted McCabe as saying.

"Boots was set up in the 1850s (but) things change and progress. We were one of the first stores to put condoms on open sale and that caused a fuss at the time."

Once a market leader, Boots has fallen behind rivals in recent years.

Under new chief executive Richard Baker, the retail group has embarked on a major restructuring as it looks to revive the performance of its core business and fend off competition from supermarket rivals.

Eighteen months ago it pulled the plug on its brief foray into services such as manicures and massages.

And last month it announced plans to close its laser hair removal, chiropody, laser eye correction and dental businesses.

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