Boots makes big strides in cold snap with rising sales

Boots overcame last month's heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures to record robust like-for-like sales growth.

Boots reported a 3.8 per cent rise in UK retail revenue including VAT on a same-store basis in December, driven by healthcare, fragrances and electrical beauty products.

The group added it had made market share gains in its core health and beauty categories.

Boots – part of the wider Alliance Boots group, which was taken private in 2007 in what at the time was Europe's biggest leveraged buyout – disclosed the sales numbers to staff in an update from chief executive Andy Hornby.

Mr Hornby said the UK performance was "particularly pleasing", given the disruption caused by the adverse weather.

He said the group was set to deliver a strong financial performance in the current financial year and recorded a 14.3 per cent increase in group revenues in the three months to December 31.

UK retail revenue for the quarter rose 2.8 per cent on a like-for-like basis, while revenues in the pharmaceutical wholesale division grew by 24.4 per cent, as the company expanded the division internationally.

In July, Alliance Boots became the majority shareholder in Hedef Alliance in Turkey, which also has operations in Egypt and an associate in Algeria, and in December it completed the acquisition of Anzag in Germany, which also operates in Lithuania and Romania and has an associate in Croatia.

Looking ahead, Mr Hornby said: "It is likely that the financial climate will remain challenging throughout 2011.

"This means that we will have to continue to work hard to meet our targets for the final quarter of our financial year ending March 31. I am confident that we will achieve these and report another year of strong profit growth in May."

The group said that revenues in the three months to December 31 had increased by 15.6 per cent on a constant currency basis.

Alliance Boots was bought for 11bn in 2007 by private equity firm KKR and executive chairman Stefano Pessina.