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Boots UK making 'significant rebound' says WBA

Boots UK has begun to make a "significant rebound" as the easing of pandemic restrictions improves sales figures, its parent company has said. 

Announcing its financial results for its third fiscal quarter, Walgreen Boots Alliance said the phased reopening of UK high streets had "led to rebound in retail sales," which improved significantly in April and May. 

Sales of beauty products were up 85 per cent on the same period in 2020, while Boots.com sales were up 42 per cent, reflecting a slower growth rate than in recent quarters as store footfall began to rise.

However, "store transactions remain below pre-Covid level due to slower pace of market recovery" in the UK versus America, according to WBA’s July 1 presentation. 

In a conference call to discuss the results, WBA executive vice president revealed footfall was 45 per cent below pre-Covid levels, but added: “We are rapidly regaining the market share lost to grocers at the height of the pandemic and discretionary categories are performing strongly.”

Overall, retail salles were up 38.7 per cent year-on-year.

Meanwhile, pharmacy sales rose 3.7 per cent year-on-year, which the company attributed to "demand for additional services and favourable NHS funding phasing [which] more than offset lower prescription volume".

James Kehoe said: "Overall, while it was a strong quarter for the International segment [which includes Boots UK], the recovery is more gradual than we originally anticipated."

WBA chief executive Roz Brewer said: "This quarter’s results demonstrate continued momentum, and while challenges lie ahead, we are in a strong position to grow and innovate our core retail and pharmacy businesses for the future.

"We are accelerating our investments to advance our operational excellence, including technology innovations that support mass personalization, pharmacy of the future and the next phase of growth in tech-enabled healthcare. These investments are fueled by our Alliance Healthcare divestiture.

"I remain proud of our team members and the essential role they are playing to help end the pandemic as the communities we serve continue to turn to our trusted brands and expert pharmacists."

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