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Boots posts second year of losses as pandemic takes its toll

Boots posted a £111 million loss last year
// Boots made a loss of £111 million in the year to August 2021
// The health and beauty retailer made a £258 million loss the prior year

Boots racked up another annual loss in the year to last August as the pandemic hammered its bottom line.

The health and beauty giant made a £111 million loss over the period, on the back of a £258 million loss the prior year.

However, Boots returned to profit on an operating basis, making £8 million compared to a £245 million loss in the year to August 2020. This was due to lower operating costs and £47 million in additional government funding.

 Sales dipped 2.3% to £5.8 billion over the year although like-for-likes edged up 2.8% year on year.

Like-for-like pharmacy sales rose by 5.2% as “favourable NHS funding levels mitigated the impact of lower prescription volume and reduced demand for services, such as travel vaccinations, during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Boots said.

READ MORE: Boots sales rise as transformation plan ‘drives market share growth’

Boots owner Walgreens put the UK business up for sale earlier this year but scrapped the auction in June as buyers failed to meet its asking price in a volatile macro-economic market.

The US giant said that no interested party had made an offer that “adequately reflects the high potential value of Boots”.

Walgreens blamed “unexpected and dramatic change” in global financial markets for “severely impacting financing availability”.

A number of potential buyers had been eyeing the retailer, including Asda owners the Issa brothers, and a consortium fronted by CVC Capital Partners and Bain Capital.

Trading at the retailer has improved of late. In its latest update, Walgreens reported that Boots like-for-like retail sales soared 24% in the three months to May 31.

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