Boots will embark on a cost-cutting strategy after global profits fell because of tough UK trading conditions.

Walgreens Boots Alliance reported a 4.1% drop in profits to £1.3bn in the three months to the end of November.

UK pharmacy sales were down 3.5%, while sales across the rest of its offer were down 2.6%.

The group is now launching a major cost-cutting drive which will see it save nearly £800m, or $1bn, in three years. The retailer has not confirmed whether job cuts will be part of that drive.

The cost-cutting measures will begin in the UK and US and centre on maximising the benefits of the group’s growing digital operations.

Walgreens chief executive Stefano Pessina said: “Today we are reaffirming our fiscal 2019 guidance and announcing the launch of a new transformational cost management programme, which is targeting annual cost savings of more than $1bn by the end of the third year, to better position ourselves to meet our long-term targets.

“We continue to focus on and invest in transforming our business.”