Boots comparable retail sales increased 15% in the three months to 31 August, largely driving a strong performance for parent Walgreens Boots Alliance.
Boots comparable pharmacy sales also increased significantly, by 11.4%, with footfall up 35% in the group’s fourth quarter.
Boots.com saw digital sales rise 54% in the full year, with quarter four sales more than double pre-Covid levels.
Meanwhile the group saw fourth quarter sales from continuing operations rise 12.8% year on year to $34.3bn.
Boots said the year had been transformational, with the pandemic accelerating changes to how consumers shop and access healthcare, as well as online.
“We have responded to the fundamental and permanent shifts in both the retail and healthcare landscapes with a significant transformation of our business, introducing new products and services and investing in our digital capability and store portfolio,” said Boots MD Sebastian James.
“We are furthering our position as the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer and it is pleasing to see both our sales and market share growing.
“The success of our transformation is reflected in our strong performance, led by an expanding beauty offering, new healthcare services and investment in digital. Almost half of all beauty products in the UK are now purchased at Boots with our market share climbing to over 40%, and we have introduced over 100 new healthcare services in the last few months.”
GlobalData retail analyst Juliet Cuell said the retailer benefited from a marketing campaign for its premium beauty range, increasing awareness of its rollout of ‘beauty halls’ in selected stores.
“Nevertheless, there are clear areas of improvement for the health & beauty specialist and Boots should offer a more interactive customer experience in these beauty halls, such as make-up masterclass events or wellness information sessions,” said Cuell.
“While its marketing strategy and beauty halls centre around its premium proposition, Boots should not lose sight of its more budget-friendly offer, having lost out to grocers during the pandemic.
“It should continue to provide initiatives such as double points on its Advantage Card scheme to aid customer retention and compete with supermarkets as they appeal to the price-conscious consumer,” added Cuell.