British health and beauty retailer Boots said comparable retail sales fell 29.2% in its latest quarter as shopper numbers in stores were significantly reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Boots, part of US listed Walgreens Boots Alliance, said the fourth-quarter outcome did represent an improvement from the previous quarter when comparable sales slumped 48%.
Boots.com sales rose 155% in the fourth quarter, up from 78%in the third.
Meanwhile, Walgreens said it expects profit to grow in single digits in 2021 after posting a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, helped by higher sales at US pharmacies.
Shares of the largest US drugstore chain rose 2.8% to $36.93.
The company said it expects strong adjusted profit growth in the second half of 2021, as impact of the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, and supported by its recovery plans.
Decline In Footfall
Last quarter, the company suffered a significant decline in footfall in its UK-based retail pharmacies, and resorted to store closures, job cuts and suspension of share repurchases.
Same-store sales at the company's retail pharmacy division in the United States rose 3.6% from a year earlier.
Excluding items, Walgreens earned $1.02 per share, beating analysts' expectations of 96 cents per share.