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Boots fourth quarter digital sales twice as high as before Covid-19 – while footfall remains lower

Deliveroo is now moving beyond groceries to deliver health and wellbeing products and stationery. Image courtesy of Deliveroo/Boots

Digital sales at Boots were twice as high as before Covid-19 in the fourth quarter of its financial year – but the number of people coming into its stores remained lower than before the pandemic. 

The growth came as like-for-like sales across Boots’ sales channels grew by 15% during the three months to August 31, compared to the same time last year – and as footfall recovered with the lifting of lockdown restrictions. But digital sales remain high while footfall is still lower than it was before the pandemic, the retailer’s parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance said today as it reported its fourth quarter and full-year figures. It said that had performed ahead of expectations. 

Boots is now working with Deliveroo to offer fast delivery from stores, a move that gives its shops an extra role when its customers appear to be shifting online. 

Boots has also continued to expand its share of the UK beauty market, said Walgreens, with market share of premium make-up and skincare now at the highest on record, thanks to one of the largest Boots UK marketing campaigns yet.

Overall, international sales at Walgreens reached $5.5bn, 61.8% up on the same time last year. When a new wholesale joint venture in Germany was excluded, international sales were 9.3% ahead, reflecting a recovery in the UK market following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions on July 19.

Across the Walgreens Boots Alliance business, fourth quarter sales from continuing operations reached $34.3bn – 12.8% up on the same time last year, and net earnings came in at $344m. In the full year to the same date, sales from continuing operations reached $132.5bn. 8.6% up on the previous year, and net earnings of $2bn were up from $180m a year ago. 

In the US, curbside and drive-through collection services have helped to lift Walgreens sales.

Walgreens Boots Alliance chief executive Roz Brewer says: “Our fourth quarter and fiscal year results exceeded expectations, driven by strong performance in our core business. Comparable US pharmacy and retail sales both saw robust growth and recovery continued in our UK business as COVID-19 restrictions eased in the quarter. I remain extremely proud of our team members’ unwavering commitment to meeting the needs of our patients, customers and communities. The role of the pharmacist and local pharmacy is now more vital than ever.” 

Boots is an Elite retailer in RXUK Top500 research.

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