Boots bounces back as COVID test sales soar and online business thrives in lockdown

Boots enjoyed a bumper year thanks to booming sales of COVID-19 tests, according to its latest company results – despite footfall levels on the high street still being weaker than they were before the pandemic.

In the 12 months between August 2020 and August 2021, sales topped £34bn at parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA).

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Walgreens completed its takeover of Boots in 2015, creating one of the largest pharmacy chains in the world.

The group said that over the past year, Boots has become one of the UK’s leading COVID-19 test providers, with more than 3.7 million tests administered to date.

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Sales at the pharmacy increased by 11.4% in the three months to 31 August when compared with the same period last year, reflecting the increased demand for medicine and hygiene products.

Boots’s online business also flourished with the arrival of lockdown restrictions, with digital sales in the fourth quarter more than doubling compared with pre-COVID levels.

“Comparable US pharmacy and retail sales both saw robust growth, and recovery continued in our UK business as COVID-19 restrictions eased in the quarter,” Rosalind Brewer, the chief executive of Walgreens Boots Alliance, said in a statement.

WBA said that there had been continued growth of its beauty products in the UK, with its market share for skincare the largest on record.

This had been underpinned by one of the largest Boots UK marketing campaigns to date, WBA added in its results.

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