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Boots drives strong performance for WBA with significant growth in retail sales and healthcare

14 October 2021
News Brand

Walgreens Boots Alliance has today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of fiscal 2021, ended 31 August 2021. Strong performance for Walgreens Boots Alliance’s International segment was largely driven by Boots, which saw a significant uplift in both retail and pharmacy sales alongside an increase in market share.

This year has been transformational for Boots. The pandemic accelerated the way in which consumers both shop and access healthcare, and Boots has adapted quickly with a refocus on its overall business strategy, investing in its digital capability as well as growing its beauty and healthcare offerings.

Sebastian James, Managing Director, Boots, said: "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. 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.

"Boots.com sales have more than doubled versus pre-Covid levels and we are maintaining that growth whilst at the same time welcoming customers back into stores, with footfall up around 35% compared with last year. Looking ahead, both healthcare and beauty are growing markets as we exit the pandemic and Boots is now ideally placed to seize new opportunities in both these growing segments.

"I am extremely proud of all our team members and the major role that Boots continues to play in supporting the country, including Covid testing and vaccinations on behalf of the NHS as well as providing essential healthcare and advice for those who need us.”

Financial highlights:

  • Boots comparable Retail sales increased 15.0% in Q4 (versus Q4’20), with footfall on the High Street recovering
  • Boots comparable Pharmacy sales increased 11.4% in Q4 (versus Q4’20), driven by stronger demand for pharmacy services
  • Boots.com continued to perform ahead of expectations, with digital sales rising 54% in FY21, and Q4 sales more than doubling versus pre-Covid levels
  • Increased footfall across Boots stores, up 35% versus the prior year
  • Growth in Boots retail market share, led by beauty

Operational highlights:

Boots is the number one beauty destination in the UK, responsible for selling almost 1 in every 2 beauty products in the UK. 

  • Boots current market share is above 40% for both premium make up and premium skin care
  • Beauty now accounts for 50% of sales on Boots.com
  • Boots introduced 44 new beauty brands this fiscal year, now selling over 500 beauty brands in-store and online including MAC, NARS, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Fenty Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics
  • Over 100 more Boots Beauty Specialist jobs created, bringing the total to over 700
  • 30 new beauty halls rolled out in stores this year, with 100 halls now across the UK

In addition to offering customers online delivery and click and collect, Boots launched a trial partnership with Deliveroo, delivering over 400 health and beauty products from 14 pilot stores across the UK in as little as 20 minutes.

Boots now offers over 100 healthcare services, both online and in store, covering anything from acne treatment to period pain relief and mental health support.

  • Boots Online Doctor Services added 45 new services this year, providing patients with an option to access quick and easy healthcare advice and prescription medication, without requiring a visit to the GP

Boots has recently begun its largest winter flu jab programme with a target of administering 3x more vaccinations than last year

Boots continues to play a fundamental role supporting the NHS and local communities throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Boots now operates across 108 Covid-19 vaccination sites in UK and Ireland
  • Since first launching in Halifax in January, Boots has administered over 800,000 vaccines
  • From the start of the pandemic Boots colleagues have carried out more than 3.7 million Covid-19 tests

For FY22 Boots aims to further its position as the number one retailer in the UK for both healthcare and beauty. These are growth markets exiting the pandemic and Boots is well placed to seize opportunities in both areas. Focus will be on expanding Boots digital and omnichannel capability and growing the right range of services and products. In healthcare, this includes expanding the services and support Boots offers on behalf of the NHS, using its significant store and pharmacy footprint to offer primary care at the heart of communities across the UK.

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Boots UK is the largest pharmacy-led health and beauty chain in the UK and its purpose is to champion everyone’s right to feel good. With 2,336* stores and a team of around 52,000* colleagues, of which approximately 6,600* are registered pharmacists, the Boots brand has been at the heart of local communities across the UK since 1849. Boots UK is committed to providing exceptional customer and patient care and being the first choice for pharmacy, beauty, healthcare and wellness, alongside offering its innovative portfolio of product brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle, Sleek MakeUP and YourGoodSkin.

Boots UK is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance (Nasdaq: WBA) – a global leader in retail pharmacy, impacting millions of lives every day through dispensing medicines, and providing accessible, high-quality care. More company information is available at boots-uk.com.

*As of Aug. 31, 2020