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Boots: Flat pharmacy sales offset by 24% growth in retail business

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Boots: Flat pharmacy sales offset by 24% growth in retail business

Boots UK saw a 24 per cent increase in retail sales in the three months to May 31, parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance has said.

WBA posted its earnings for the third quarter of its financial year earlier today, just two days after announcing that it will not go ahead with its plans to sell off Boots.

The Q3 figures reveal that Boots’ retail sales were up almost a quarter on the same period last year, while total sales grew by 13.5 per cent. 

The quarter saw “market share gains across all major categories” in retail, said WBA, claiming this was driven by the growth of digital sales and rising footfall since the end of lockdown restrictions.

Meanwhile, pharmacy sales were down 0.4 per cent compared to the year-ago quarter. Boots pharmacies dispensed an average 3.75 million items a week in Q3, compared to 3.76 million a week in Q2 this year.

However, pharmacy service provision was up 22 per cent, “reflecting stronger demand for new online healthcare services” according to WBA. The Boots Online Doctor Service has had almost 500,000 customers since launching a year ago.

The latest Boots data also indicates that the company has lost roughly 400 pharmacists over a three-month period. As of May 31 there were ‘4,900+’ pharmacists, compared to 5,370 at the end of March. The company declined to comment on this when approached by Pharmacy Network News.

Boots UK managing director Seb James commented: “The execution of our transformation programme and a sharp focus on expanding our key categories of healthcare and beauty has driven strong sales and market share growth and further strengthened our position as the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer.”

Mr James said that “significant investment” in stores and digital platforms is expected to driver further growth, adding that the company’s price-freezing commitment in 1,500 products has been well received by customers affected by soaring inflation.

WBA chief executive said the company’s overall performance in the US and Europe was “broadly in line with our expectations, demonstrating the resilience of our business through our deep community connections and relevance to consumers”.

“With our decision to conclude the Boots strategic review, I firmly believe that our strategic actions are working to deliver long-term shareholder value,” she added.

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