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High Street

Boots Q4 sales slip amid ‘challenging’ retail market

Health and beauty retailer Boots has reported a 2.1% decrease in sales in its fourth-quarter results, ending 31 August 2019.

The retailer, which is owned by Walgreens Boots Alliance, also reported a 2.7% decrease in retail sales on a constant currency basis, attributing the decline to a retail market that “remains challenging”.

Additionally, comparable pharmacy sales decreased 1% on a constant currency basis, primarily due to lower volume and “lower National Health Service (NHS) funding levels” in the UK.

Despite this, Boots’ parent company saw increased sales during the year to 31 August 2019, up 4.1% to $136.9bn (£106.7bn).

Executive vice chairman and CEO Stefano Pessina said: “We are pleased to report fiscal 2019 results in line with our previously stated guidance despite a challenging operating environment. We are also making progress on our four strategic priorities, which we remain confident are positioning us to deliver long-term growth.

“While we still face headwinds, I am encouraged by the improvement in U.S. comparable sales performance in the second half of fiscal 2019 and our progress in managing costs in order to save to invest to grow.”

He added: “We are introducing guidance for fiscal 2020 adjusted earnings per share, which we expect will be roughly consistent with fiscal 2019 at constant currency rates – very much in line with our expectations.”

In July, Boots confirmed it was set to close 200 stores in the UK, after receiving confirmation from Walgreens Boots Alliance. The store closures will affect underperforming stores, in “walking distance” of other Boots locations and will represent 8% of the retailer’s UK stores base.

The announcement came after Q3 results which showed a 2.6% decrease in retail sales and a 0.8% dip in pharmacy sales.

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