Boots announces 200 store closures

Retailer says “overwhelming majority” of affected staff will be moved to neighbouring stores

Olesya Dmitracova
Economics and Business Editor
Saturday 29 June 2019 09:43
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Death of the UK high street: Retailers gone since 2008

Boots has announced it will shut around 200 stores, mostly local pharmacies, confirming earlier media reports it was considering closures of that scale.

The stores are in UK locations where the company has a large number of branches within close proximity, according to Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK and Ireland.

He said the “overwhelming majority” of affected staff will be moved to neighbouring stores.

“There’s no doubt that trading conditions are tough on the High Street, and healthcare and retail are facing a challenging reality. Boots is not immune to these pressures,” he added.

“At the same time, we continue to open new stores where we believe there are communities that would benefit from a new Boots – for example, the new Covent Garden flagship [store], creating 130 new jobs.”

Boots, which has more than 2,400 stores employing about 62,000 staff, has been grappling with falling sales.

The decline was picked out in the quarterly results statement by its owner Walgreens Boots Alliance released on Thursday. The US company reported a fall in profits compared with a year ago, “primarily due to lower US pharmacy margins and retail sales, and Boots UK”.

The planned closures will be carried out over the next 18 months.

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