Sales decline at Boots

Sales have declined at Nottingham-headquartered Boots UK, according to first quarter results to November 30, 2019.

Walgreens Boots Alliance revealed that its Retail Pharmacy International division had first quarter sales of $2.7 billion, a decrease of 5.4 percent from the year-ago quarter, reflecting an adverse currency impact of 2.7 percent. Sales decreased 2.7 percent on a constant currency basis, mainly due to lower retail sales in Boots UK and lower sales in Chile, reflecting social unrest.

Comparable pharmacy sales increased 0.6 percent on a constant currency basis, primarily due to the UK, driven by higher National Health Service (NHS) reimbursement and increased sales of services, partially offset by lower prescription volume. Comparable retail sales decreased 3.0 percent on a constant currency basis, with Boots UK holding share in a declining market.

The division’s gross profit decreased 6.3 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago, including an adverse currency impact of 2.6 percent. On a constant currency basis, gross profit and adjusted gross profit decreased 3.7 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively, reflecting lower retail sales and margin in Boots UK.

Operating income in the first quarter decreased 43.7 percent from the year-ago quarter to $44 million, while adjusted operating income decreased 40.5 percent to $79 million, down 39.1 percent on a constant currency basis.

Walgreens Boots Alliance’s sales increased 1.6 percent to $34.3 billion, up 2.3 percent on a constant currency basis, overall.

Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Stefano Pessina said: “We are maintaining our outlook for the year despite a soft first quarter. We are confident our strategic plans are the right ones to drive long-term sustainable growth going forward. In addition, during the quarter we were very satisfied with the progress made in our Transformational Cost Management Program and with the strong cash flow we delivered.”