LloydsPharmacy has reported a more than eightfold increase in revenue from its online pharmacy LloydsDirect during the 2020/2021 financial year.
According to the pharmacy multiple’s annual report and financial statements for the fiscal year ending March 2021, LloydsPharmacy was “particularly pleased” with its digital revenue during the year.
It said it had seen a 237% growth in revenue through its LloydsPharmacy.com website, a 10% growth from its ‘Online Doctor’ offering, and that LloydsDirect had grown by 731%.
LloydsDirect, which was known as Echo until the online pharmacy rebranded in July 2021, was first purchased by the multiple’s former parent company McKesson in 2019.
As of 1 April 2022, 587,811 patients have nominated LloydsDirect as their preferred option for receiving medicines, through the electronic prescription service (EPS), making it the second most popular pharmacy for EPS nominations after Pharmacy2U.
LloydsPharmacy also reported a 9.6% decrease in turnover for the 2020/2021 financial year, which it attributed to “lower foot traffic caused by COVID-19, as well as the ongoing impact of the company’s multi-year transformation initiative”.
It added that losses were “partly mitigated by the reduction of the LloydsPharmacy store portfolio”, as well as government reimbursements of bank holiday opening and business rates relief.
The report said that, as of 31 March 2021, there were 1,351 LloydsPharmacy branches, decreasing from 1,427 in 2020.
As a result, the multiple’s operating loss was reported to have decreased by 69.6% from £115.5m in 2019/2020 to £35.1m in 2020/2021.
The financial report comes as the asset management group Aurelius announced on 7 April 2022 that it had completed its acquisition of McKesson UK — LloydsPharmacy’s parent group — which was first announced in November 2021.
Meanwhile, a quarterly financial report from Boots UK revealed a 3.6% increase in comparable pharmacy sales for the three months ending on 28 February 2022.
Boots UK said in a press release on 31 March 2022 that the increase was driven by stronger demand for pharmacy services, which grew 75% year-on-year, and included COVID-19 testing, flu vaccinations and new online healthcare services.
Boots began expanding its ‘Online Doctor’ service in June 2021, with patients now able to access treatments for more than 45 conditions.
Boots confirmed to the Pharmaceutical Journal earlier in 2022 that 200 of its pharmacies that had been earmarked for closure had largely now closed. In addition, pharmacy services had closed in a further 22 Boots retail stores.
The closures followed a dramatic fall in profits for the multiple in 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, although pharmacy revenue had not been as affected.
Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK, said: “Boots continues to bounce back strongly from the pandemic and delivered another solid performance this quarter, with sustained retail and pharmacy sales growth and market share gains across all categories.
LloydsPharmacy was approached for comment, but did not respond in time for publication.