WBA Q2: Boots UK store sales fall, but online up +105%

Date : 13 April 2021

Sabira Habib

Retail Analyst

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) said group sales increased in its second quarter by 4.6%, 3.5% on a constant exchange basis, to US$32.8 bn.

Performance by division  

Retail Pharmacy USA

  • Sales increased by 0.4% to US$27.3 bn compared to Q2 2020
  • Comparable sales increased by 2%, with comparable pharmacy sales up by 4.5%, while comparable retail sales declined by 3.5%
  • Retail sales were down by 6.6% due to the impact of its store optimisation programme and the extra day in Q2 2020 (as a leap year)
  • Overall comparable retail sales declined by 3.5%, with beauty sales down by 8.8%. However, excluding the impact of seasonal flu, Walgreens saw an increase of 9.1% in the health and wellness category
  • Walgreens’ digital initiated retail sales grew 78% to US$370m

Retail Pharmacy International

  • Sales increased sharply, by 32.6%, to US$5.4 bn compared to Q2 2020
  • Excluding incremental sales from the joint venture in Germany, sales declined by 9.9% at constant currencies. This was mainly a result of the 17.8% decline in Boots UK’s sales, which were down due to COVID-19 related impacts
  • Boots UK’s comparable pharmacy sales rose 3.2%, while comparable retail sales declined by 17.9% due to the low footfall, particularly on major shopping streets, train stations and airports because of the re-introduction of stricter lockdown restrictions in November
  • Boots.com continued to perform strongly, with sales up 105%
  • Boots UK gained market share in the beauty category. However, the company said strict COVID-19 restrictions had impacted other categories, with a shift in buying habits to one-stop grocery shopping impacting on its performance

Progress in its inoculation program, since March…  

  • Walgreens has administered more than 8m COVID-19 vaccinations
  • Boots UK is working closely with the National Health Service (NHS) and has opened 25 major vaccination hubs at Boots stores

Making headway on its strategic priorities

  1. Creating neighbourhood health destinations
  • Walgreens is on track to open 40 Village MD locations by the end of summer 2021
  1. Accelerating digitalisation
  • Walgreens Find Care platform usage increased by almost 70%, mostly driven by COVID-19 testing and vaccinations
  • WBA is investing in pharmacy automation solutions company iA to support its expansion and is aimed at improving its pharmacy efficiency and free up pharmacists’ time
  1. Transforming and restructuring the company’s retail offering

Source: IGD Research

Outlook for the rest of the fiscal year

WBA’s CEO, Rosalind Brewer, said the company’s performance for the first half of the fiscal year was ‘ahead of expectations, despite significant impacts from COVID-19’. The company anticipates the situation in the second half to continue to be ‘fluid’, but is expecting ‘strong growth’.

Want to know more?

  • Find the latest news and insights on Walgreens Boots Alliance here
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