Boots has recorded a decline in first-quarter sales as parent group Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) reiterated its full-year profit guidance despite a slump in operating income.

WBA posted a 27.6% fall in operating income to $1bn in the quarter to November 30, 2019, down 15.6% to $1.5bn on an adjusted basis.

Sales across the group increased 1.6% to $34.4bn during the period despite a 2.2% decline in sales across the US division’s sales during the period.

The retail group’s international division posted a 6.3% fall in gross profit year on year, down 3.7% on a constant currency basis and “reflecting lower retail sales and margin in Boots UK”.

Like-for-like retail sales fell 3% on a constant currency basis “with Boots UK holding share in a declining market.”

Despite this performance, WBA said it “maintained guidance of roughly flat growth in fiscal 2020 adjusted earnings per share at constant currency rates, with a range of plus or minus 3%”.

Executive vice-chair and chief executive Stefano Pessina said: “We are maintaining our outlook for the year despite a soft first quarter. We are confident our strategic plans are the right ones to drive long-term sustainable growth going forward. In addition, during the quarter we were very satisfied with the progress made in our transformational cost management program and with the strong cash flow we delivered.”