Health and beauty giant Alliance Boots has reported trading profit up 0.4% to £1.3bn and sales up 4.3% to £23.4bn in the year to March 31.

In the UK, the Boots UK division reported trading profit up 2.1% to £830m and sales up 2.2% to £6.3bn. Like-for-likes were up 1.3%. The group said Boots UK increased trading profits, despite lower dispensing profitability from lower reimbursement prices on generic medicines.

Alliance Boots executive chairman Stefano Pessina said: “I am pleased to report that Alliance Boots has continued to deliver strong earnings growth, in a year where the markets in which we operate were significantly more challenging than I have experienced for a very long time. 

“These results have been achieved during a period when considerable management time and other key resources have been dedicated to our Walgreens partnership.  This has covered many areas, including our joint synergy programme, forward planning and preparation for our anticipated full merger, together with the burden of complex reporting requirements.”

Pessina said the strategy is to the first global pharmacy-led health and wellbeing enterprise in partnership with Walgreens is “the right way forward”.

He added: “Since Alliance Boots was formed eight years ago, we have made huge progress developing our businesses across the globe, while at the same time creating substantial value for first our public and then our private shareholders.  As I have said on many occasions, I truly believe that we have the brands, intellectual capital and, most importantly, the vision and management expertise to continue to create value for stakeholders across the world in the coming years.”

Alliance Boots reports trading profit up 0.4% to £1.3bn