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Boots owner’s earnings dented by ‘challenging market’ in the UK

Boots owner, Walgreens Boots Alliance, has said it has seen a decline in profit and sales due to a “challenging market” in the UK.

The group said its UK pharmacy sales had fallen by 3.5% in the three months to the end of November, it also saw retail sales drop by 2.6%. Worldwide, the group said it had seen its profit decrease by 4.1% down to £1.3bn across the same period, with Walgreens Boots Alliance blaming the fall on the “challenging market” and one-off charges in the UK.

Walgreens Boots Alliance said it was to launch a global cost-cutting programme with the aim of cutting £790m per year, which could result in “significant restructuring”. The group said it had seen increased market share in its UK operations but said it was “more than offset by a very weak retail environment”.

Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO, Stefano Pessina, said: “We are pleased to have delivered double digit percentage growth in earnings per share in the first quarter, including solid results in the US We continue to focus on and invest in transforming our business.

“Today we are reaffirming our fiscal 2019 guidance and announcing the launch of a new transformational cost management program, which is targeting annual cost savings of more than $1bn (£790m) by the end of the third year, to better position ourselves to meet our long-term targets.”

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