Friday 24 November 2017

Boots' arm in Ireland lifts profits by 11pc to buck trend

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Retail pharmacy chain Boots has continued to perform well despite a dire retail backdrop, with profits at its Irish arm rising 11.2pc in the last financial year to €17.9m.

That followed a near 43pc increase in profits in the previous financial period.

New accounts just filed for Boots Retail (Ireland) at the Companies Office show that revenue at the company edged 3.2pc higher to €275.7m in the 12 months to the end of last March.

"Dispensing and retail revenue increased ahead of the market despite difficult trading conditions which continue to impact consumer spending," note directors in the accounts.

"Thirteen new stores were added during the year reflecting our strategy to significantly expand our presence."

Boots' Irish operations, which is headed by Debbie Smith, had 71 outlets at the end of last March and now has 73. In recent months it unveiled extensions to some stores.

Boots employs close to 2,000 people in Ireland and in late-2011 acquired some assets belonging to Health Express for €1.1m.

The accounts also show that the Irish division paid €14.6m to its parent during the last financial year. That's up from the €11m it paid the previous year.

The company has just finished its most important quarter of the year, with Christmas accounting for a chunk of its business.

About 97pc of Boots' customers in Ireland are women – in line with the figure at its UK operations.

Boots' parent is Alliance Boots. Until the summer, its ownership was split between its chairman Stefano Pessina and private equity group KKR. However, they sold a 45pc stake in Alliance Boots to US pharmacy chain Walgreens for more than €5bn in cash and stock.

It has an option to buy out the business in three years' time.

Walgreens executives have also visited Ireland to gain a better understanding of the Boots operation here.

Irish Independent

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