The parent company of Boots has blamed a drop in UK pharmacy funding for its lacklustre final quarterly results, after sales at the health and beauty specialist dropped amid retail's difficult trading environment.
Walgreens Boots Alliance said fourth quarter sales in its international retail pharmacy division, which houses Boots UK, fell 1.9 per cent from the same period last year to record $2.9bn (£2.2bn).
Comparable pharmacy sales for the division fell 3.4 per cent, while retail sales also fell 0.9 per cent.
This was largely attributed to performance at Boots UK, where "the beauty category declined in a challenging market", but was also partially offset by higher sales in its health and wellness category.
For Boots alone, retail sales fell 1.4 per cent. US-based pharmacy chain Walgreens merged with Boots in 2014.
"Boots UK [comparable] retail sales were down 1.4 per cent in the quarter in a difficult retail market," said global chief financial officer James Kehoe on a call with analysts and investors yesterday.
"While our beauty business declined in the changing category, we drove continued growth in our health and wellness and personal care businesses."
"We are taking actions to address our UK retail performance, and we'll be investing in new store and digital content."