// Boots exceeds expectations after strong sales in UK business
// The pharmacy group said it will raise its financial guidance for 2022
// It was significantly boosted by Covid-19 vaccinations and testing across sites
Boots owner Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) said it has surpassed expectations for the latest quarter after strong trading in its UK business.
The pharmacy group said it will raise its financial guidance for 2022.
WBA said it was significantly boosted by Covid-19 vaccinations and testing across sites during the three months to November, while it also reported higher flu vaccinations.
The group reported that first quarter sales from continuing operations increased by 7.8% to £25 billion.
WBA’s international retail pharmacy operation – which includes Boots – saw a 35.8% rise in quarterly sales to £4.3 billion.
Like-for-like retail sales grew across its Boots UK business, as it was boosted by the easing of pandemic restrictions.
The company said it benefited from a 12% increase in the size of customers’ baskets, while online sales also continued to grow.
Boots like-for-like pharmacy sales rose 8.8% as they were boosted by stronger demand for services such as Covid-19 travel testing.
Sebastian James, managing director at Boots UK, said: “Boots delivered another strong performance this quarter with both retail and pharmacy sales continuing to increase year on year, along with very encouraging market share growth.
“Our transformation continues as planned with investment, particularly in digital, our beauty portfolio and healthcare services, aiding a fast-paced recovery from the pandemic.
“Covid restrictions continue to create headwinds for the UK high street but we remain focused on delivering for our customers.
“We are proud to support communities with testing, vaccinations and a range of healthcare services as more and more people choose their local pharmacy as their first port of call when feeling unwell. I want to thank all our team members for their continued extraordinary efforts.”