Drop in quarterly sales at Walgreens Boots Alliance

Helen Cahill
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The group owns Boots outlets across the UK (Source: Getty)

Walgreens Boots Alliance missed analysts' expectations with its quarterly results today citing "challenging" market conditions.

The figures

Sales at the group fell 2.4 per cent to $29.4bn (£23.58bn) for the quarter ending 28 February, with sales in its international pharmacy down 14.5 per cent to $3.1bn. Analysts had expected the group's sales to stay flat.

Net income rose to $1.06bn, a rise of 14 per cent compared to the same period a year before.

Read more: Boots cuts 220 photo labs putting 400 jobs at risk

The group also announced a $1bn share buyback.

Why it's interesting

The group said like-for-like sales fell 0.9 per cent at its pharmacy outlets, in part because the government cut funding into its pharmacies in the UK. Boots has also been reviewing its business in the UK, and said recently that it is closing 220 of its photo labs, including five in London, putting 400 jobs at risk. The closures are expected to take place by the end of August.

The company has been facing a "challenging market" in general, which it attributed to a drop in sales in consumables. However, the group tried to offset this by focusing instead on health, wellness and beauty.

What Walgreens Boots Alliance said

Chief executive Stefano Pessina said: "Our results this quarter were in line with our expectations despite some challenging conditions we faced in a number of markets.

"I am particularly pleased with the growth in pharmacy volume and market share in the retail pharmacy USA division, which saw the highest comparable prescription growth in more than seven years."

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