Boots sees bounceback ahead of potential sale
Up-for-sale UK health & beauty retail giant Boots is seeing its post-pandemic recovery taking shape, announcing sales jumped 15.2% in the quarter to 28 February, driven by a 22% lift in like-for-like sales.
It said the performance was underpinned by improving high street footfall, rocketing online sales and “particularly strong” demand in the beauty segment.
In the trading update, Boots said online sales leapt 60% ahead of pre-Covid levels in the quarter and accounted for 15% of the retailer’s sales overall. Store footfall also rose by 52% year-on-year with basket size up 15% on pre-Covid levels.
Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK & Republic of Ireland, noted it was a “very exciting time” for the chain.
He added: “Boots continues to bounce back strongly from the pandemic and delivered another solid performance this quarter, with sustained retail and pharmacy sales growth and market share gains across all categories.
“Our strategic focus continues to be on transforming our beauty, healthcare and digital offerings and this quarter we made excellent progress – with strong take-up of our new and existing healthcare services while maintaining our leading position in the growing beauty category.”
Whether or not the positive trading performance will affect the price-tag/demand for the Walgreens Boots Alliance-owned business remains to be seen as the parent confirmed the “strategic review” of the UK health & beauty business is progressing, amid strong takeover interests in recent weeks.
It’s understood US private equity firms Apollo and Sycamore partners are among firms to have placed non-binding offers. The billionaire Asda-owning Issa brothers, who are backed by TDR Capital, are also in the running to buy Boots.
Bidders are expected to submit final offers for the business around Easter, with indicative offers so far valuing the chain above £6 billion.
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