Tough Irish climate hits Boots' global trading
Trading at Boots pharmacies in Ireland has remained difficult due to the "fragile" economic environment, impacting the overall performance of the parent firm's international operations.
Alliance Boots, which is owned by private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts as well as the group's executive chairman Stefano Pessina, said yesterday it was "well positioned" for the current second half of the financial year after it posted a 6pc rise in sales to £8.94bn (€10.2bn) in the six months to the end of September.
Its pharmaceutical wholesale division was the best performer, with sales rising 7.7pc in the period to £5.9bn.
Sales at its health and beauty unit -- its retail outlets -- climbed 2pc to £3.6bn. In Britain, VAT-inclusive sales at Boots stores rose 1.8pc on a like-for-like basis.
At stores outside Britain, revenue increased by 8.2pc in the first half. The company made a profit of more than £1bn in its last financial year.
"The continuing fragile state of the Irish economy together with civil unrest in Thailand between March and May adversely impacted trading," said the group.
Boots operates more than 50 outlets in the Republic of Ireland and employs close to 2,000 people here. The managing director of the Irish outlets is Debbie Smith.
Group chief executive Andy Hornby said he was pleased with the overall group performance.
"Strong cash flow combined with the benefit of low interest rates has enabled us to reduce net borrowings while continuing to invest in the future of Alliance Boots," he said.