Boots bounces back as parent company WBA reports strong results
The owner of the UK’s Boots chains and of the American Walgreens business said Q4 sales from continuing operations increased 12.8% year-on-year, to $34.3 billion, up 11.8% on a constant currency basis.
That’s better than the year as a whole with fiscal 2021 sales from continuing operations up 8.6% to $132.5 billion, or up 7.5% on a constant currency basis.
Q4 operating income from continuing operations increased 49.7% to $910 million and adjusted operating income increased 22.9% on a reported currency basis to $1.2 billion.
Net earnings from continuing operations were $358 million, up 6.4%, from the year-ago quarter, reflecting increased operating income in both segments. This was partially offset by higher tax provisions.
CEO Roz Brewer said that comparable US pharmacy and retail sales both saw robust growth and recovery continued in its UK business as Covid-19 restrictions eased in the quarter.
The company said a highlight of the final quarter was the continued expansion of beauty in the UK, with the "market share for premium make-up and skincare the highest on record, underpinned by one of the largest Boots UK marketing campaigns to date”.
Overall, the International segment had fourth-quarter sales of $5.5 billion, an increase of 61.8%. Sales increased 52.6% on a constant currency basis, including higher sales associated with the formation of company's wholesale joint venture in Germany.
Excluding this, International segment sales on a constant currency basis increased 9.3%. Boots UK comparable retail sales increased 15% compared with the year-ago quarter as footfall on the high street recovered after lockdown measures were removed, although it remains below pre-Covid levels. As well as selling beauty products in Britain, Boots also has the Mothercare licence.
The Boots.com operation that’s one of the biggest UK beauty e-tailers “continued to perform ahead of expectations, with digital sales in the fourth quarter more than doubling compared with pre-Covid levels”.
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