// Boots store sales drop over the past quarter
// The decline comes as high street stores and travel stores struggle to trade due to Covid-19
// Boots lost market share in all of its categories apart from beauty over the quarter
Boots has reported a store sales decline over the last quarter as its high street and travel units struggle to trade amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The health and beauty retailer saw group sales drop 16.7 per cent for the three months to August 31, despite a continued online growth.
Meanwhile, like-for-like retail sales fell by 29.2 per cent as footfall “significantly reduced” and subsequently affected high street and travel stores.
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However, Boots said this marked an improvement in footfall from the previous quarter, when like-for-like retail sales were 48 per cent lower due to store closures.
The retailer warned it would scrap over 4000 jobs in July, mainly affecting staff at its Nottingham support office.
On Thursday, Boots said it had lost market share in all of its categories apart from beauty over the quarter.
Despite this, Boots’ online sales saw a 155 per cent growth in the fourth quarter, following on from a 78 per cent increase in the previous quarter.
It came as parent company Walgreen Boots Alliance said its international pharmacy retail division, which includes the UK chain, recorded a $132 million (£102 million) operating loss that it said was primarily driven by lower UK sales.
“Despite uncertainty amid the global Covid-19 pandemic, we are seeing gradual improvement in key US and UK markets and continued strong performance in our wholesale business,” chief executive Stefano Pessina said.
“I’m also encouraged by the accelerating growth in our ecommerce platforms.
“Now, more than ever, our pharmacy-centred business is at the heart of community healthcare and we are expanding on that role for the future.”