Health & beauty retailer Boots saw UK like-for-like (LFL) revenue rise 0.7 per cent year-on-year in the six months to September 30th 2011.
It has been a tough time on the high street for many British traders so any growth should be viewed as positive, but Boots admitted there has been “subdued consumer demand” and lower footfall experienced outside its London and south-east stores.
A trading statement published today by the retailer’s parent company Alliance Boots revealed that revenue in its Health & Beauty division, which has seen a number of changes to its senior team in recent months, was up by 0.4 per cent on the first half of last year to £3.65 billion.
Boots UK dispensing volumes increased by 1.8 per cent on a LFL basis, with growth particularly strong in the patient-specific packs category and from prescriptions collected on behalf of patients from doctors’ practices.
The area holding the business back was the company’s optical arm, with Boots Opticians’ LFL revenue decreasing by 1.4 per cent “due to lower average transaction values resulting from the introduction of attractively priced new spectacle ranges”.
Eye test and spectacle volumes were both up on the first half of 2010.
Alliance Boots said that overall revenue, which includes its burgeoning pharmaceuticals operation, grew by 31.3 per cent compared to the same period last year.
Stefano Pessina, Executive Chairman of the group, commented: “We performed strongly in the first half of the year, despite subdued consumer demand and governmental action across Europe to contain growth in healthcare expenditure, and are on track to deliver our 2011/12 targets.
“Boots delivered a good performance, taking into account the difficult UK consumer environment and governmental measures to curb healthcare spending.
“This was a result of its ongoing focus on value, customer care, innovation and costs.
“Our Pharmaceutical Wholesale division continues to grow rapidly, its results benefiting from last year’s acquisitions and a strong focus on service and costs.”