Boots sales slump 29% as effects of pandemic grip tighter on retail

The healthcare retailer reported lower market share across all categories except beauty

Beauty and healthcare retailer Boots has reported a 29% downturn in sales for fiscal year 2020.

The UK high street chain said the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic had significantly reduced footfall, despite being allowed to stay open during the nationwide lockdown.

Boots said major high street, train station and airport locations were the hardest hit, but the fourth quarter gave a glimmer of hope as in-store visitors improved slightly on Q3.

However, the retailer’s market share was lower across all categories, except beauty.

Boots also reported a 155% increase in online sales compared with 2019.

As a result, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Boots’ owner, has set out a 2021 guidance of low single-digit growth in adjusted earnings per share.

The group also expects the first half results to be negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, but for the second half of 2021, the company anticipates strong adjusted EPS growth, as the effects subside.

Meanwhile, the company’s “customer-centric” approach will put a focus on transforming omnichannel capabilities and offerings across retail and healthcare.


'The woes of retail'

Analysis:
By Becky Bargh
Senior News and Social Media Reporter


The woes of retail show no signs of slowing down and with the UK sanctioning more restrictions, the sector looks set to suffer even further.

The British Retail Consortium reported footfall year-on-year dipped 30% in September across all sectors, and that was only a 4% improvement from August.

It also found footfall slumped almost 37% year-on-year for the high street, which was found to be the most negatively affected shopping location in September.

And this is on top of the hundreds of job cut retailers have already made.

Retail’s recovery therefore seems distant. But a glimmer of hope can be seen in Walgreens Boots Alliance’s outlook for the second half of 2021.

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