Owners grow but Boots on the slide
Boots has posted sliding sales in the UK as its US-based owner hailed overall growth for the past year.
The UK retail business saw sales slip 2.1% over the fourth quarter to August 31, after likefor-like pharmacy sales declined 1%.
UK sales were hit by lower volumes and a decrease in NHS funding, as it struggled in “challenging” retail conditions.
Walgreens Boots Alliance saw group annual sales jump 4.1% to 136.9billion US dollars (£106.7bn) as it was buoyed by a strong fourth quarter which surpassed expectations.
Sales for the three months to August increased by 1.5% to $34bn (£26.5bn), while
“It maintained market share as competitors also saw sales wane”
operating profits fell by 20.5% to $5bn (£3.9bn).
The US retail pharmacy division posted a 2.1% rise in sales to $26bn (£20.2bn) for the quarter as the volume of prescriptions increased against the same period in 2018.
However, the group was pressurised by falling international sales, which slumped 6.3% to $2.7bn (£2.1 bn) as it was weighed down by currency weakness.
The fall was also particularly driven by weaker sales in the UK for the period, which were made worse by weakness in the pound.
Like-for-like retail sales in the UK fell by 2.7%, although the company said Boots maintained its market share as high street competitors also saw sales wane.
Lower retail sales and margins in the UK weighed on profits for the international arm, with adjusted gross profits falling 5.4% over the quarter.