// Boots transformation plan helps steer trading as sales rise in third quarter
// Like-for-like retail sales increased 24% in the three months ended 31 May
Boots has reported a rise in sales thanks to the progress of its transformation programme in the third quarter.
The heath and beauty retailer’s owner Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) said rising customer numbers helped steer market share gains across all categories in the three months ended 31 May.
WBA recently abandoned the proposed £5 billion sale of Boots after suitors failed to meet its asking price.
Like-for-like retail sales increased 24% over the period, highlighting a further improvement on the 16.3% growth in the first quarter and 22% in the second quarter.
Footfall jumped 45% year-on-year, with the business highlighting particular improvements at its flagship and travel locations, but traffic still remained below pre-Covid levels.
Basket sizes in the period were up about 14% on pre-Covid levels and online also registered a “strong” performance – accounting for more than 13% of total retail sales.
Boots UK managing director Sebastian James said investment in the digital platforms and in stores was expected to drive “continued market-leading growth”.
“The execution of our transformation programme, and a sharp focus on expanding our key categories of healthcare and beauty, has driven strong sales and market share growth and further strengthened our position as the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer,” he said.
James said the launch of a ‘Price Advantage’ scheme, the expansion of its own label range and a price freeze on 1,500 essential products had been “particularly well received” by customers.
Pharmacy sales dropped by a mere 0.4% year-on-year in the quarter as it came up against tough comparatives, but pharmacy services rose 22%.
Revenues at WBA in the third quarter fell 4.2% to $32.6 billion as it lapped “very robust growth” last year.
International sales increased 0.3% to $5.3 billion, including an adverse currency impact of 9%, while on a constant currency basis, sales were up 9.3%, with Boots UK sales up 13.5% and the German wholesale business growing 6.8%.