Sales at Boots’ retail sites reportedly fell by almost 30% in the quarter up to August as consumers chose to carry out their shopping online.
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Boots’ parent company, reported that despite an improvement from the 48% drop seen in the previous quarter, the UK retailer continued to lose share in nearly every market it operates.
The decrease in in-store sales was partially offset by a 155% rise in activity on Boots.com.
The global business announced a fall in its operating income of 26%, while estimating the negative impact of Covid-19 at roughly $520m.
According to the Guardian, James Skinner, the firm’s chairman, told City analysts: “We think the UK is the country where there might be [further] lockdowns. It is quite unpredictable. We don’t see major risk in the US, but the UK presents risks to the [sales] projections.”
However, Walgreens said it will increase its investment in the next year from $400m to $1bn. It will focus on digital services and online shopping due to the pandemic’s effect on high street sales.
Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO, said: “Despite uncertainty amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing gradual improvement in key US and UK markets and continued strong performance in our wholesale business.
“I’m also encouraged by the accelerating growth in our e-commerce platforms.”