Boots struggles in Q1, despite surging e-sales and higher beauty market share
Boots has been a drain on its parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance for a while and although WBA said on Thursday that the group’s Q1 (to November 30) trading was better than expected, the UK operation continued to struggle.
The American firm’s sales rose 5.7% to $36.3 billion (£26.7 billion) and although adjusted operating income declined 9.9% to $1.3 billion, this was better than expected.
In the UK, its beauty and health retail giant Boots saw its sales falling 11.5% on the back of Covid disruption and temporary store closures. And like-for-like retail sales fell 9.1%. Its usually busy airport and railway station stores took a very big hit as travel stayed at a low level.
Boots’ UK market share was lower in all categories except beauty, as the pandemic continued to impact heavily on buying habits and consumers temporarily shifted purchasing to one-stop grocery shopping.
Yet the Boots e-commerce business expanded with a sales surge of 106%.
But company management stayed upbeat. “Our first-quarter results exceeded expectations as we continue to deliver on our strategic priorities,” CEO 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 for the fiscal year”.
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