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Superdrug profits slide despite "essential" retailer status
12 July 2021

Superdrug has seen profits plunge nearly 80% during the year despite remaining open as an essential retailer throughout the pandemic.

The health and beauty said pre-tax profits for 2020 were just £18.8m, compared with £89.4m a year earlier as shoppers shunned the high street.

Sales were down 15% to £1.1bn, including a 40% fall in the second quarter of 2020 when the pandemic first hit.

Chief executive Peter Macnab said: “2020 was an unprecedented and tough year for many high street retailers and of course we see the severe impact of the pandemic reflected in annual results across the high street.

“As an essential retailer, the most important thing is that our 788 stores were able to stay open to serve and support our colleagues, customers and communities through the pandemic.”

He added that the company’s online pharmacy grew 132% during the year and 100,000 people were vaccinated in stores in the first half of this year.

There was also a 106% growth in online orders although with customers staying indoors, there was a hit to the company’s beauty business – particularly during the run-up to Christmas when restrictions were still in place.

Macnab added: “To weather the storm and safeguard the future of the business, we have taken several proactive steps to ensure we are able to emerge strong from the pandemic.

“At a time when accessible retail has never been more important, the strength of our Healthcare offering, coupled with our up-to-the minute Beauty business, means that we are confident we remain the number one choice for our customers.”

He hopes to win back business with more store “experiences” by expanding its beauty studios and 15 new stores later this year.

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