The multiple’s parent company, Walgreens Boots Alliance, saw a 3.4% drop in comparable pharmacy sales in its retail pharmacy international division – which includes Boots UK – from June to August 2018, compared with the same period last year.
The drop was “primarily due to lower prescription volume and a decline in UK pharmacy funding”, the company said in its latest financial report, published today (October 11).
Pharmacy sales during the company's financial year (August 2017-18) fell 1.2%, it told journalists during a conference call this afternoon.
Walgreens Boots Alliance said its retail sales had also fallen – by 0.9% compared with the same quarter last year – in its international division. This was “mainly due to Boots UK, where the beauty category declined in a challenging market, partially offset by higher sales in the health and wellness category”.
The drop was even steeper – at 1.4% – within Boots UK, the company said.
“Challenging year” for UK pharmacy
The company acknowledged “Boots in the UK has faced a challenging year”, and said it is “taking actions to address [its] UK retail performance”. This will include “investing [in] new store and digital content”, and the appointment of “seasoned specialist retailer” Sebastian James as Boots' senior vice president and managing director.
In June, Boots announced a 2% fall in retail sales from March to May 2018 – when compared with the same period the previous year – which the multiple said at the time was also due to “lower prescription volume” and the reduction in “government funding”.
Wholesale sales rise
Meanwhile, the company’s wholesale division – which includes Alliance Healthcare in the UK – saw sales increase by 4.7% compared with the fourth quarter of the last financial year.
Overall sales for the quarter across Walgreens Boots Alliance increased 11.3%, to $33.4 billion (£25.2bn) compared with the same period last year.