Alliance Boots sales rise but the high street still struggles

ALLIANCE Boots saw sales rise by more than a third in the first half of the year as strong demand from international markets continued to compensate for weak consumer spending on the UK high street.

The global healthcare and beauty company said revenues rose 31 per cent to £11.74bn in the six months to 30 September, helped by international sales from Boots stores which rose by 8.6 per cent.

Sales at its UK Boots stores edged up by just 0.7 per cent in the period, as continuing pressures on consumer income reduced footfall on high streets, especially in regions outside of London.

Executive chairman Stefano Pessina said: “We performed strongly in the first half of the year, despite subdued consumer demand and governmental action across Europe to contain growth in healthcare expenditure, and are on track to deliver our 2011/12 targets.”

Pessina warned last month that economic stagnation and high unemployment would tie UK companies to low growth for at least three years adding that Alliance Boots was lucky not to be a public company.

Private equity giant KKR took the group private for £11bn in 2007.