Health and beauty retailer Boots’ UK retail business generated a like-for-like sales rise of 4.1% in the five weeks to December 31 and parent Alliance Boots’ group revenues rose 14.1% in the quarter to the same date.


Alliance Boots executive chairman Stefano Pessina said in an internall letter to staff that the UK retail performance was “particularly good” over the Christmas period.

He said that the retailer remains “on track” to deliver its 2011/2012 operational and financial targets.

Like-for-like dispensing volumes rose 1.2% over the quarter and retail like-for-likes, including VAT, were up 0.6. Total sales in the quarter, excluding VAT, were flat at the health and beauty division, including Boots Opticians and health and beauty businesses outside the UK.

Pessina said: “Despite the difficult trading environment, the division as we expected delivered good profit growth through a combination of effective gross margin management and tight cost controls.”

He said: “Overall the group performed strongly in the quarter, driven by our differentiated product offering, excellent customer care and service, our transformational programmes and international expansion.”

Alliance Boots’ pharmaceutical wholesale division generated a quarterly sales rise of 21.3%.

Pessina said: “Looking to 2012, we expect the economic environment to remain tough with continuing pressure on both consumer and governmental expenditure.  This will generate challenges but also new opportunities for us as we pursue our growth, organically and through further international expansion.”