// Walgreens Boots Alliance fQ1 sales increased by 5.7% to £26.7bn, ahead of expectations
// Boots UK saw total sales fall by 11.5%, but like-for-like pharmacy sales for the quarter increased by 2.5%
// Boots’ ecommerce business performed “very strongly” during the quarter, with sales up 106%
Boots parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance has said first quarter trading surpassed expectations after it was buoyed by its UK pharmacy and optician businesses.
The US-based firm revealed that sales increased by 5.7 per cent to $36.3 billion (£26.7 billion) over the three month period, while earnings decreased by 11.2 per cent, ahead of expectations.
It said Boots UK saw total sales fall by 11.5 per cent after it was impacted by coronavirus disruptions and temporary closures.
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However, like-for-like pharmacy sales for the quarter increased by 2.5 per cent as NHS reimbursement mitigated the impact of lower sales volumes.
Walgreens Boots Alliance also said the Boots’ ecommerce business performed “very strongly” during the period, with sales up 106 per cent against the same period last year.
Boots, which cut around 4000 jobs last July, said its high street retail business was particularly impacted by the pandemic, reporting a 9.1 per cent fall in like-for-like retail sales.
It highlighted that its airport and train station shops saw a notable slump in trading following due to lockdowns and various restrictions.
The trading update came a day after Walgreens Boots Alliance announced the £4.8 billion sale of a majority stake in its Alliance Healthcare wholesale and distribution business.
“Our first quarter results exceeded expectations as we continue to deliver on our strategic priorities,” chief executive Stefano Pessina said.
“While the business environment remains challenging, we are rising to the occasion with agility and discipline and we are confident in our outlook for adjusted EPS (earnings per share) for the fiscal year.
“Our role in the healthcare system has never been more important, as the communities we serve continue to turn to our trusted brands and expert pharmacists.
“I am so proud of our teams and the historic and critical role they are playing to help the world emerge from the pandemic, administering Covid-19 vaccinations to frontline healthcare workers and vulnerable members of our society.”
with PA Wires