Alliance Boots has reported a rise in like-for-like sales of 2.8% across its UK retail business in the past quarter.

In an internal memo to staff, group chief executive Andy Hornby said the high street chemist had grown overall sales by 14.3% over the period to 31 December. Hornby said the figures represent an “extremely robust performance”.

“Overall the group performed strongly despite the challenging trading conditions we continue to see across Europe,” he told staff.

“We are very pleased with our progress and are well positioned to deliver a strong financial performance in 2010-/11, through a combination of organic growth and the two major acquisitions we have recently made to expand the international presence of our pharmaceutical wholesale division.”

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