Boots sales jump despite Omicron as owner considers sale

US parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance confirmed that a ‘strategic review’ of the UK business is in progress.

31 March 2022

Boots has revealed a jump in sales despite pressure from the spread of the Omicron variant of coronavirus as the potential sale process of the pharmacy chain rumbles on.

US parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance confirmed that a “strategic review” of the UK business is in progress, amid speculation that initial takeover offers have been made for the company in recent weeks.

It is understood that US private equity firms Apollo and Sycamore partners are among firms to have placed non-binding offers.

It comes as Boots continued its pandemic recovery, reporting a jump in sales driven by improving high street footfall.

Boots pharmacist
Boots said pharmacy service sales jumped almost 75% due to flu vaccinations and Covid-19 testing (WBA/PA)

Total UK sales grew by 15.2% over the quarter to February 28, compared with the same period last year.

The company added that it witnessed “headwinds from the Omicron variant” but was optimistic about strong like-for-like trading.

Beauty sales were particularly strong over the period, the company added.

Meanwhile, the group said flu vaccinations, Covid-19 testing and new online health services helped its pharmacy services business report almost 75% sales growth.

Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK & Republic of Ireland, said it is a “very exciting time” for the chain.

He said: “Boots continues to bounce back strongly from the pandemic and delivered another solid performance this quarter, with sustained retail and pharmacy sales growth and market share gains across all categories.

“Our strategic focus continues to be on transforming our beauty, healthcare and digital offerings and this quarter we made excellent progress – with strong take-up of our new and existing healthcare services while maintaining our leading position in the growing beauty category.”

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