Walgreens Boots Alliance posted a drop in its second-quarter sales as a poor international performance and currency fluctuations offset rising domestic sales.

Boots’ UK division reported a 0.7% rise in retail like-for-like sales in the three months to February 28, which the retailer attributed to a strong Christmas trading period.

However, this rise in retail sales was offset by a slump in sales across the retailer’s UK pharmacy division, which posted a 5.2% drop in like-for-like sales.

Walgreens Boots Alliance reported a 3.7% fall in its overall international like-for-like sales, which it attributed to “the negative impact of a reduction in pharmacy funding in the UK.”

The pharmacy retailer’s parent company posted a 2.4% drop in sales during the period to $29.4bn, exacerbated by international revenue falling 14.5% during the period, or 1.9% on a constant currency basis.

The pharmacy group’s US division recorded a 1.5% rise in sales to $21.8bn, bolstered by a 2.4% increase in like-for-likes and a 15% leap in sales of own-brand beauty products.

The retail group said its $6.8bn merger with rival US pharmacy chain Rite Aid was on track to complete pending approval from the US competition regulator.

Walgreens Boots Alliance’s chief executive Stefano Pessina said: “Our results this quarter were in line with our expectations despite some challenging conditions we faced in a number of markets.

“I am particularly pleased with the growth in pharmacy volume and market share in the retail pharmacy USA division, which saw the highest comparable prescription growth in more than seven years.”

Speaking at Retail Week Live last month, Walgreens Boots Alliance co-chief operating officer Alex Gourlay said that Boots’ own-brand products such as Soap and Glory and No. 7 were proving a hit with US shoppers.

The health and beauty retailer unveiled plans to significantly downsize its photography division last month.