Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Beauty demand buoys Boots after US owner halts sale plan

Boots in Oxford Street in London (Matt Crossick/PA)
Boots in Oxford Street in London (Matt Crossick/PA)

Boots has revealed a surge in sales over the past quarter as shoppers flooded back to UK high streets amid strong demand for its beauty products.

It comes just days after US owner Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) confirmed it dropped plans to sell the UK pharmacy chain and retailer.

On Tuesday, WBA said it will now keep Boots and the No7 beauty brand under its existing ownership following a strategic review which started in January and saw the group receive a number of takeover approaches.

Offers reportedly included approaches from suitors such as Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, valuing the business at about £5 billion.

In its fresh update, the WBA told shareholders that Boots sales grew by 13.5% in the three months to May as soaring retail demand offset a slight decline in pharmacy sales.

Boots’ like-for-like retail sales increased by 24% for the period, driven by its beauty business.

It said this was also buoyed by a bounce in high street footfall compared with the same period last year when pandemic restrictions remained in place.

Footfall across stores was up roughly 45%, with strong performances in flagship stores and travel locations, which basket sizes were up roughly 14% against pre-pandemic levels.

Retail growth more than offset a 0.4% decline in Boots’ like-for-like pharmacy sales.

Gross profit for the business increased by 3.2% compared with the same quarter last year.

Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK & ROI, said: “The execution of our transformation programme and a sharp focus on expanding our key categories of healthcare and beauty, has driven strong sales and market share growth and further strengthened our position as the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer.

“Significant investment in both our digital platforms and in our stores is expected to drive continued market leading growth.

“As store footfall returns to pre-pandemic levels and with cost of living pressures increasing, the launch of our Price Advantage scheme, the expansion of our own label product range and our commitment to freeze prices on 1,500 essential products have been particularly well received by customers.”

WBA as a group saw sales from continuing operation decrease by 4.2% to 32.6 billion US dollars (£26.9 billion) over the quarter.