Improving Boots performance ‘a top priority’ for WBA

Boots UK parent company Walgreen Boots Alliance has said turning around the fortunes of the struggling multiple will be one of its “top priorities”. 

In a call with investors last week to discuss a financial quarter in which retail sales fell by 18 per cent compared to the same time a year previously, WBA chief financial officer James Kehoe said: “One of our top priorities is to turn around Boots UK and return it to profitable growth.”

Mr Kehoe described the Boots brand as a “central pillar supporting our recovery,” pointing to YouGov survey data suggeting that the company’s UK reputation “is now at a five-year high”.

Mr Kehoe indicated that attempts to improve Boots’ performance will consist of both cost efficiencies and investment, explaining that money will be put into stores to “enhance the customer experience as foot traffic returns to the high street”. 

“During the quarter we rolled out new Number Seven counters and fixtures in more than 100 additional stores, largely completing our planned UK rollout and taking the total to over 750 stores,” Mr Kehoe said.

“Building on our success in previous quarters, we have added new on-trend beauty brands and we are attracting new customers to Boots.”

Mr Kehoe commented on the continued success of the Boots.com segment, particularly with beauty products where he said the “competition has fallen off completely”.

He noted that Covid-19 continues to have a significant impact on Boots UK, but said the UK Government’s progress with vaccinating the public pointed to more favourable market conditions towards the end of the year.

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