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Boots expands multichannel delivery services with Uber Eats pilot

Rapid delivery services are expected to help grow online sales over the coming years. Image: Shutterstock

Boots is expanding its multichannel services with a new delivery partnership with Uber Eats. The news comes in the week that parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance reports fourth-quarter figures showing 11% of sales taking place online at the health and beauty retailer – up from 6% before the pandemic, and reflecting the extent to which its customers are now more prepared to buy online. 

The new pilot service makes Boots the first health and beauty retailer to join the Uber Eats platform. It starts from 14 shops, enabling shoppers to get products from a range of more than 900 items within 30 minutes of ordering. Toiletries, minor ailment medicines, Covid-19 tests, beauty and gifting options are all available for delivery as well as food and drink. 

For all but one of the 14 stores it will be the first time local Boots customers have been within range of a similar service from the retailer. Stores involved in the trial include stores in very different areas, from city centres including Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street (Sedley Place) London and Market Street, Manchester to towns including The Parade, Northampton and Cleveland Centre, Middlesborough. 

Paula Bobbett, chief digital officer at Boots says: “We are hugely excited to be launching our partnership with Uber Eats. As the first health and beauty retailer on its platform, we can offer an extensive range of product options to customers for delivery straight to their door. Whether it’s medicines for mild illnesses or last-minute gifts, beauty items or top-ups of a favourite skincare brand, we can meet all our customers’ needs both quickly and conveniently.”

Alex Troughton, head of commerce at Uber Eats UK, says: “We are delighted to announce our new partnership with Boots, the leading health and beauty retailer in the UK. As customers are increasingly using Uber Eats to get anything, this partnership will mean high quality health and beauty products delivered in minutes. So, no matter what you need, Uber Eats and Boots have got you covered.”

The service adds to existing fast delivery partnerships at the retailer, enabling the retailers to offer 30 minute delivery to more customers. 

Fourth quarter figures

The news comes in the week that Boots’ parent company Walgreen Boots Alliance reports 11% of Boots sales took place online in the fourth quarter of its financial year. That’s up from 6% before the pandemic, and illustrates the extent to which shoppers are now making more of their purchases online. 

During , the international business of Walgreens Boots Alliance, the part of the business that includes Boots, reported $5.1bn (£4.6bn) in sales in the quarter, to August 31. That’s 6.6% down on last year, partly as a result of currency fluctuations. Within that, Boots UK sales grew by 6% – on by 15.2% on a like-for-like basis that strips out the effect of store – and business – openings and closures. Footfall was up by 20% on last year. 

Gross profit fell by 7.3% on last year and at the bottom line, fourth quarter operating losses in the international business of Walgreen Boots Alliance – the division that includes Boots – came in at $672m (£600.3m), down from an operating income of $46m (£41.1m) last year, and reflecting a $783m (£699.4m) write down in the value of intangible assets at Boots UK. When that was excluded, adjusted operating income came in at $163m (£145.5m) – 31.3% up on the same time last year. 

Boots is ranked Elite in the latest RXUK Top500 research

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