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Boots blamed by parent company for drop in retail sales

A Boots pharmacy
Pharmacy sales for Walgreen Boots Alliance's international pharmacy division rose 0.6%

Boots UK’s parent company has blamed the health and beauty giant for a 2.8% drop in retail sales across its international division.

Pharmacy sales for Walgreens Boots Alliance’s retail pharmacy international division – which includes Boots – rose 0.6% between December 2017 and February 2018, compared with the same period last year.

But retail sales dropped 2.8%, which the parent company said was “mainly due to Boots UK”, in its latest financial results published yesterday (March 28).

“On a constant currency basis” overall sales for the division also decreased 2.6% compared with the same three-month period the previous year, it noted.

Sales across Walgreen Boots Alliance increased 12% to $33 billion (£23.5bn) compared with the same quarter last year, it reported.

CEO Stefano Pessina said the company’s growth strategy had been “reflected in another good set of financial results, in which we delivered the highest sales growth in eight quarters”.

What do you make of the latest financial results?

Boots Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Boots want Waitrose service with Lidl staffing levels, this is inevitable. The waiting times are poor for tills and prescriptions, but instead of putting a magnifying glass on budgets, leadership and senior management, they blame the poor store colleagues and put on more and more pressure to be faster. They also seem completely inept at publicity these days, it is just a barrage of negative press, with no good PR and numerous campaigns to boycott Boots.

Saddened Old Timer, Community pharmacist

John Smith is spot on and when there’s no staff profit waltzes out the door with the shoplifters too. Further destroying staff morale and putting their safety at risk. 

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

Over the past years it has always been the retail section which has bolstered Boots profit. Could this be a measure of the combined impacts of Brexit (on exchange rates) and cuts to pharmacy?

P M, Community pharmacist

the big plan ... they too will start to close high street shops once patients have been switched to online / warehouse delivery system.. they will slash overheads by getting rid of high cost rents and staff inc pharmacist/locums etc by just closing stores - they will keep a few flagship stores for prestige such as bond street , covent garden etc

its all in the pipeline - all monies now is being transfered to prescription items - no value on services or advice - 

its the future : toys r us didnt do this nor did radio shack and look what happened to them



B W, Student


Julie Friday, Accuracy checking technician

I was told by the area manager that the branch that I used to work in will become just a pick up point.

Julie Friday, Accuracy checking technician

I don't really feel there is a need for 2,500 Boots stores across the UK.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

That is an interesting view - do you mean that there should be greater diversity within pharmacy ownership (i.e. fewer Boots) or just fewer pharmacies? And before you answer, don't forget that either is likely to impact on our professional colleagues

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Looking at it from a hard, cold logic - logistically that would make the most sense. On the other hand, the advice and expert knowledge of Pharmacists will need to be administered in a different way.

Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

You're right there and it won't just be Boots that will close hundreds of shops by moving to a lower cost base from online central delivery. 

They have already cut staff to an absolute minimum and emploment prospects within retail pharmacy are quite frankly zero going forward.

John Smith, Locum pharmacist

If Boots actually had staff  at the tills to take money for purchases then this may not have happened. It's literally a case of slashing staff levels also slashes quality of service whic also slashes profits. How many times have we seen these headlines? Boots are definitely on a downward trajectory.

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