Boots UK’s parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) has recorded increased pharmacy and retail sales in its first quarter results for the 2022 fiscal year.  

Pharmacy sales for Boots UK were up 8.8% in the three months to 30 November 2021, while retail sales were up 16.3%.  

WBA said the results ‘exceeded our expectations’ and were ‘very encouraging’. 

Footfall improved across the quarter, but traffic was still below pre-Covid-19 levels. also improved, with digital sales almost double that of the equivalent quarter pre-Covid-19.  

Adjusted operating income grew to $164m (£144.7m), which was an increase of 88.6% on a constant currency basis, compared with the same quarter in the previous year.  

Adjusted gross profit increased 18.2% on a constant currency basis, which WBA said reflected ‘strong UK growth’.  

WBA said this growth was partly driven by Covid-19 vaccinations and testing, with Boots UK delivering around 2 million vaccinations in the quarter.  

Chief executive of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Rosalind Brewer, said: ‘First quarter results exceeded our expectations, with a very encouraging performance across all our business segments.’  

Commenting on Boots UK’s performance, managing director of Boots UK & ROI, Seb James, added: ‘Boots delivered another strong performance this quarter with both retail and pharmacy sales continuing to increase year on year, along with very encouraging market share growth. 

‘Our transformation continues as planned with investment, particularly in digital, our beauty portfolio and healthcare services, aiding a fast-paced recovery from the pandemic. This is also driving strong market share gains from both traditional and new competitors. Digital sales are almost double what they were two years ago. 

‘Covid restrictions continue to create headwinds for the UK high street but we remain focused on delivering for our customers. We are proud to support communities with testing, vaccinations and a range of healthcare services as more and more people choose their local pharmacy as their first port of call when feeling unwell. I want to thank all our team members for their continued extraordinary efforts.’ 

Last year, WBA was rumoured to be considering putting its Boots UK pharmacies up for sale amid speculation around a ‘new strategic direction’ for the company.  

It comes as several major players in the pharmacy sector have been consolidating their business positions.