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Boots First-Half Sales Surge as Takeovers Buoy Wholesale Unit

Alliance Boots Holdings Ltd., the U.K.’s largest drugstore chain, said first-half sales accelerated as acquisitions buoyed its wholesale division.

Sales climbed 31 percent to 11.7 billion pounds ($18.6 billion) in the six months ended Sept. 30, the closely held company said in a statement today. That compares to growth of 15 percent in the year ended March 31.

The drugstore chain, owned jointly by Chairman Stefano Pessina and KKR & Co. after an 11.1 billion-pound buyout in 2007, said wholesale revenue surged 50 percent mainly due to the purchase of a majority stake in Turkish drug wholesaler Hedef Alliance Holding A.S. and Germany’s Andreae-Noris Zahn AG last year. “Continuing pressures” on consumer budgets and reduced shopper numbers hurt sales at the health and beauty unit.

The company is “on track to deliver our 2011-12 targets,” Pessina said in the statement.

Sales at the health and beauty unit, which has over 3,280 stores, climbed 0.4 percent in the six months. U.K. revenue at stores open at least a year rose 0.7 percent including value-added tax, the company said.

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