finance

Boots sees sales plummet as pandemic hits high street



Boots has seen its sales plummet over the last three months as the pandemic continues to negatively impact its sites.

Sales tumbled 16.7% over the three months ending August 31, despite its online offering growing.

Its online growth as offset by a huge drop in like-for-like retail sales, which fell by 29.2%. The dip in sales was caused after footfall was “significantly reduced” in its high street and travel stores.

Despite the drop, sales improved compared with the previous quarter, when sales were 48% lower due to store closures.

Boots reported the slump in sales as parent business Walgreen Boots Alliance (WBA) said its international pharmacy retail division, which includes the UK chain, posted a $132m (£102m) operating loss, which it said was primarily driven by UK losses.

Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and chief executive of WBA, said: “Despite uncertainty amid the global Covid-19 pandemic, we are seeing gradual improvement in key US and UK markets and continued strong performance in our wholesale business.

“I’m also encouraged by the accelerating growth in our e-commerce platforms.

“Now, more than ever, our pharmacy-centred business is at the heart of community healthcare and we are expanding on that role for the future.”

In July, Boots said it would cut more than 4,000 jobs, mainly affecting staff at its Nottingham support office, in a bid to mitigate the impact of the virus.



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