Boots Store Front (2)

Source: Boots

Boots has reported a 13th consecutive quarter of market share growth, with comparable retail sales up 6% in the three months to 31 May.

Increased footfall in larger shops and airports – where four branches benefited from refits – pushed store sales up 3.8%.

Digital sales shot up by 13.8% as investment in its loyalty app led more customers to choose personalised offers.

The third quarter performance comes on top of tough comparatives a year earlier, when comparable retail sales were up by 13% and digital sales grew by 25%.

Pharmacy sales in the latest quarter were up 5.8%, driven by increased take-up of healthcare services, including vaccinations ahead of the summer holiday period. Two new skincare services – skin condition diagnosis and a treatment for skin ageing and hyperpigmentation – were launched in the period.

Boots also added 14 new brands to its beauty range, including Milk, The Beauty Crop, Tree Hut, Coats and Kurl Kitchen.

The NHS Pharmacy First Service delivered over 20,000 consultations in England on average each month from launch in January.

“This is another set of consistently strong results for Boots,” said Sebastian James, Boots UK & ROI CEO.

“I am pleased to see our positive momentum continue across the whole business, with both retail and healthcare increasing sales and a 13th consecutive quarter of market share growth.

“We continue to focus on making exciting new brands and services accessible, whilst focusing on value and rewarding loyalty. We are committed to delivering a fantastic experience for customers, however they shop with us.

“I would like to thank our incredible team members for their continued hard work and ongoing commitment to deliver for our customers every day.”

Meanwhile, the retailer’s US parent Walgreens Boots Alliance cut its profit outlook, citing challenging pharmacy industry trends and a worse-than-expected US consumer environment.

Adjusted net earnings were $545m, down 36.5% on a constant currency basis, reflecting lower adjusted operating income.

WBA CEO Tim Wentworth told analysts on Thursday the business was “committed to continuing to invest in Boots UK”.

“Our review of Boots UK showed that we have attractive options to unlock value in this business,” Wentworth said. “While we believe there is significant interest in Boots at the right time, its growth, strategic strength and cash flow remain key contributors to the company.”

It follows reports last month that WBA was once again in talks over a sale of Boots after shelving plans for a London float of the UK high street chain. The business previously abandoned a sale process in 2022.