Boots’ parent company reports third-quarter sales growth, while its online business is twice its pre-Covid size
Parent company the Walgreen Boots Alliance is no longer looking to sell the business in a difficult environment, and will instead focus on growth
Boots’ sales continued to grow in the third quarter of its parent company’s financial year, with its online business around double the size it was before Covid-19, although in-store footfall is yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Walgreens Boots Alliance has now concluded its review of both the Boots and the No7 Beauty Company and has decided to keep them. Rather than sell for less than they are worth in a difficult market, it will instead focus on growing the business profitably.
The Walgreen Boots Alliance today reports that sales from continuing operations fell by 4.2% in its third quarter, the three months to May 31, to $32.6bn (£26.8bn). International sales of $5.3bn (£4.4bn) were 0.3% up on the previous year – or 9.3% ahead on a constant currency basis. Operating income from continuing operations fell to a loss of $320m (£263m) from income of $1.1bn (£0.9bn) a year earlier.
Online sales growth at Boots
At Boots UK, ranked Elite in RXUK Top500 research, sales rose by 13.5% in total, and by 24% on a like-for-like (LFL) basis that strips out the effect of store openings and closures. LFL pharmacy sales were 0.4% down on last year. Gross profit grew by 3.2% on last time.
Online sales via boots.com accounted for more than 13% of retail sales during the quarter, up from 6% pre-pandemic. In-store footfall improved on last year but was still behind pre-Covid-19 levels. Innovations in the Boots business included the launch of No7 Pro Derm Scan technology and personalised consultations in more than 400 Boots shops. The Boots Online Doctor has now taken almost 500,000 customer orders, a year on from launch.
The figures came days shortly after Walgreens Boots Alliance said it had concluded its review of the Boots and No7 Beauty businesses and would no longer be selling it since the effect of market instability on the availability of finances meant “no third party has been able to make an offer that adequately reflects the high potential value of Boots and No7 Beauty Company. Consequently, WBA has decided that it is in the best interests of shareholders to keep focusing on the further growth and profitability of the two businesses.”
Walgreen Boots Alliance chief executive Rosalind Brewer says the results followed a strong performance in the previous year. “Third-quarter results were broadly in line with our expectations, demonstrating the resilience of our business through our deep community connections and relevance to consumers,” she says, adding: “With our decision to conclude the Boots strategic review, I firmly believe that our strategic actions are working to deliver long-term shareholder value.”