Boots store closures: Up to 200 branches could be shut across UK, reports say

Healthcare retailer denies that it is planning a ‘major programme’ but says ‘we always review underperforming stores and seek out opportunities for consolidation’

Ben Chapman
Tuesday 28 May 2019 14:50
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The US owner of Boots is reportedly considering plans to close up to 200 of its UK stores.

The Nottingham-based healthcare retailer is owned by American firm Walgreens.

Sky News reported on Tuesday that Walgreens was considering the closures. Boots, which has 2,485 stores across the UK employing about 56,000 staff, has been battling against falling sales.

Walgreens warned last month that it may have to shut UK stores after suffering its “most difficult quarter” in the firm’s history.

A spokesperson for Boots UK did not confirm the closures, stating: “We currently do not have a major programme envisaged, but as you’d expect we always review underperforming stores and seek out opportunities for consolidation.

“As is natural with a business of our size, we have stores opening, closing and relocating on a regular basis, but we have had around 2,500 stores open for several years now.”

The company pointed to recent investment in its cosmetics areas and the planned opening of a new flagship store in Covent Garden.

The spokesperson added: “We are being realistic about the future and that we will need to be agile to adapt to the changing landscape.”

Last month, Walgreens said it was looking to slash costs and had started already taken “decisive steps”, including reviewing its Boots retail stores.

The group revealed it is looking at poorly performing shops as well as “opportunities for consolidation”.

The company announced in February that 350 jobs are at risk in its Nottingham head office amid plans to trim HQ staff costs by 20 per cent.

Ways to overhaul its pharmacy business are also being considered.

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