Click & collect driving Boots' online growth

Revenue at health & beauty retailer Boots' UK online operation grew 30% year on year in the 12 months to 31 March 2014, with the business hailing the impact of its updated click & collect service.

Boots launched an enhanced order online/pick-up in-store service last year which allows customers to order before 2pm and pick up from 2pm the following day – and the new convenience offering proved to be a key driver of sales, especially around the busy Christmas period.

With the advanced service available in the vast majority of its 2,487 health & beauty stores across the UK, Boots continues to see an increase in this method of shopping. Indeed, it said this week that 59% of all online orders over the course of the year were collected in-store, representing an increase of 14% when compared to 2012-13.

The net contribution of, after all direct costs including depreciation are considered, "increased substantially year on year".

In the UK, Boots' like-for-like revenue grew 1.3% to £6.35 billion, while Boots Opticians sales jumped 4.3 per cent to £349 million. Overall revenue for parent company Alliance Boots, which includes various international retail and wholesaling operations, was up 4.3% to £23.4 billion.

Boots' loyalty scheme continues to aid sales in the UK, with the number of active Boots Advantage Card members at the year-end totalling 17.8 million. The equivalent Boots Ireland programme now has a further one million active members.

This week's statement suggested that around 60% of Boots retail sales in the UK are made by Boots Advantage Card members, who reportedly spend an average of 60% more per transaction than non-cardholders.

In an extension to the loyalty scheme, the first digital Boots Health & Beauty magazine was launched in February 2014 aiming to build further engagement with consumers.

At the start of 2014, the group also unveiled, which can deliver over 24,000 products from to consumers across 19 countries. With a particular focus on expat communities, Boots said that early results have been "encouraging" and it means that its product brands are now available in over 35 territories.