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Superdrug reports online sales almost 50% ahead of pre-pandemic levels

Superdrug has more than 800 UK stores. Image: William Barton/Shutterstock

Superdrug’s parent company says its ecommerce sales were almost 50% higher in its latest financial year than in pre-pandemic 2019, after a year in which both its ecommerce and multichannel services expanded.

The health and beauty retailer, ranked Top150 in RXUK Top500 research, says growth came through its Online Doctor and eNHS healthcare channels, and through multichannel services such as in-store ordering for home delivery and two-hour home delivery. It also opened 14 new shops, taking it to a total of 796 UK and Ireland sales, as footfall recovered over the course of the year.

Parent company AS Watson today reports Superdrug revenues of £1.2bn in the 53 weeks of its 2021 financial year. That’s 5.1% higher than the £1.1bn it reported last year. Pre-tax profits of £45.3m were 141.3% higher than the £18.8m it reported last time.

Superdrug chief executive Peter Macnab says 2021 was another year spent tackling the effects of Covid-19 and that there were further challenges ahead.

“The inflationary environment started by the Covid-19 pandemic has now been accelerated by the Ukraine crisis and we see significant pressure on retail’s operating margins, as well as reduced consumer confidence and disposable income,” he says. “We are working hard to support our customers through these challenging times and doing what we can to minimise the impact of price rises, as we stand firm in our mission to bring the very best of accessible health and beauty to the high street.” 

Macnab adds: “Although we expect the UK retail environment to remain challenging, the resilience of our online and healthcare channels, coupled with our clear future strategy to operate in both the offline and online channels, focus on our cost base, and drive efficiencies that can be invested in improving our customer and colleague offering, leaves us well positioned to grow successfully in 2022 and beyond.” 

Superdrug’s customer loyalty programme, the Health & Beautycard, marked 10 years of operation during a year which it ended with 15.9m members. The scheme, says AS Watson, is “pivotal to the company’s engagement with its customers,” and sales to members grew year-on-year. 

Superdrug is owned by Hong Kong-based AS Watson Group, which runs 12 brands with more than 16,000 shops in 27 markets. It is itself part of CK Hutchison Holdings, which operates businesses from retail to ports and energy in more than 50 countries.

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