Boots cuts 900 jobs at Nottingham head office

Boots proved that it isn't just senior executives who need to worry about job security as it unveiled plans yesterday to axe 900 staff.

The move, which will affect one in three jobs at its Nottingham headquarters, is part of attempts by Richard Baker, the new chief executive, to overhaul the group and its outmoded chain of chemists.

The cuts follow last year's cull of 500 staff at head office and are intended to save Boots £100m over three years. The redundancies will cost the group £47m, £30m of which will fall in the current financial year.

Boots, which said it would create an extra 290 jobs in its stores over the next 12 months, will today reveal how it fared over Christmas, with the City hoping for underlying sales to have risen by up to 4 per cent.

Boots said last month that its gross margin would narrow in 2004 as it cuts prices to compete with its supermarket rivals. Tesco, the largest supermarket chain, said this month it would cut prices of 600 health and beauty products by an average of 8 per cent.

News of the job cuts was welcomed in the City where Boots shares rose 8.5p to 657.5p. "It's broadly positive, removing costs at the centre and partly returning that to stores," said Peter Jones, an analyst at KBC Peel Hunt in London who has a "hold" rating on the shares.

Amicus, the trade union which represents Boots employees, said it had not been properly consulted.

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