The parent company of Boots has acknowledged that its UK healthy and beauty business has “faced a challenging year” after the retailer recorded a decline in both its pharmacy and retail divisions.
Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is based in the US, blamed Boots’ fourth quarter results on fewer prescriptions and the pharmacy funding cuts in the UK.
Walgreens recorded a 3.4 per cent drop in comparable pharmacy sales in its retail pharmacy international division – which includes Boots UK – for the quarter ending August compared with the same period last year.
Walgreens added that retail sales had also fallen – by 0.9 per cent compared with the same quarter last year – in its international division.
The company said this was “mainly due to Boots UK, where the beauty category declined in a challenging market, partially offset by higher sales in the health and wellness category”.
Walgreens said that for Boots on its own, retail sales dropped 1.4 per cent.
The results come after Boots announced a decline in sales in the third quarter, which Walgreens also attributed to “lower prescription volume” and the reduction in “government funding”.
However, in its latest trading update, Walgreens admitted that “Boots in the UK has faced a challenging year”, and that it was “taking actions to address [its] UK retail performance”.
This includes plans to invest in new store and digital content, and the appointment of “seasoned specialist retailer” Sebastian James as Boots’ senior vice president and managing director.