Retailer and wholesaler Alliance Boots has reported surging sales and profits.

Group sales climbed 15.1% to £20.2bn, generating a trading profit up 14.2% to £1.05bn in the year to March 31, when the pharmaceuticals wholesale division grew most strongly.

Sales at Alliance Boots’ health and beauty division, which includes the Boots chain, rose 1.7% to £7.62bn and trading profit rose 5.5% to £767m.

Boots UK’s sales rose 1.1% to £6.39bn, its like-for-like retail revenue including VAT rose 1.2% and dispensing volume was up 3.6%.

Alliance Boots’ wholesale division delivered a 23.6% rise in revenues to £13.94bn and trading profit advanced 36.2% to £320m.

Alliance Boots executive chairman Stefano Pessina described the group’s performance as strong. He said: “In recent years we have made substantial capital investment, particularly in our Boots stores and supporting infrastructure.

“As a result we have a string platform for continued growth in our core businesses and on which to build our next phase of growth, focused on international expansion.

“Looking to the year ahead, we are planning for consumer demand to be subdued and expect governments to continue to seek ways to contain growth in healthcare expenditure. In spite of this, we are confident about our future prospects.”