Boots UK’s latest financial figures show it performed well in the three months up to August 31, with both retail and pharmacy sales up significantly compared to the previous year.
Posting its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2020-21, parent company Walgreen Boots Alliance said the “strong performance” of its non-US business was “largely driven by Boots,” which saw an increase in market share.
Retail sales were up 15 per cent year-on-year due to a 35 per cent increase in footfall in Boots stores, while pharmacy sales were up 11.4 per cent “driven by stronger demand for pharmacy services”.
Meanwhile sales figures for the Boots.com website for the quarter were more than double pre-pandemic levels, with digital sales riding by 54 per cent in the 2021 financial year. Online sales now account for roughly 20 per cent of total retail sales, investors heard in a WBA conference call yesterday.
Overall the multiple’s retail market share has grown, it claims, driven to a large extent by the beauty category which now accounts for 50 per cent of online sales.
During the conference call, WBA global chief financial officer James Kehoe said: “The UK recovery is very much on track. COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in the middle of July and we drove strong market share gains especially in Beauty, which grew sales by 24.8 per cent.
“We're expecting a really, really strong upcoming couple of years, particularly driven by the next year, we expect international to grow by about 50 per cent.”
Mr Kehoe also said that having reached a target of $2bn in efficiency savings across the global business a year early, “we are expanding the transformational cost management programme and raising the savings goal to $3.3bn by 2024”.
Boots managing director Seb James said: “We have responded to the fundamental and permanent shifts in both the retail and healthcare landscapes with a significant transformation of our business, introducing new products and services and investing in our digital capability and store portfolio. We are furthering our position as the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer and it is pleasing to see both our sales and market share growing.
“The success of our transformation is reflected in our strong performance, led by an expanding beauty offering, new healthcare services and investment in digital.”