Boots to cut 4,000 jobs and close 48 stores

High street chain Boots has announced plans to cut more than 4,000 jobs and close 48 stores due to the ‘significant impact’ of the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday, 9th July 2020, 1:56 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th July 2020, 2:41 pm
Boots in Terminus Road, Eastbourne

Boots remained open throughout lockdown, to provide communities with ‘vital pharmacy and healthcare services’, but footfall into stores ‘dramatically reduced’.

Boots has approximately 43 sites in West Sussex and approximately 38 in East Sussex.

The announcement of the comes after John Lewis revealed earlier today (July 9) that eight of its shops were set to remain closed after the lockdown, resulting in 1,300 job losses. However, Sussex’s two stores in Chichester and Horsham will not be affected. Read more here

A Boots spokesperson was unable to comment on the future of individual stores at this stage, but the chain said the cuts will affect around 7 per cent of the its workforce and the closure of 48 Boots Opticians stores.

Sebastian James, Managing Director of Boots UK, said: “The proposals announced today are decisive actions to accelerate our transformation plan, allow Boots to continue its vital role as part of the UK health system, and ensure profitable long-term growth.

“In doing this, we are building a stronger and more modern Boots for our customers, patients and colleagues.

“I am so very grateful to all our colleagues for their dedication during the last few challenging months.

“They have stepped forward to support their communities, our customers and the NHS during this time, and I am extremely proud to be serving alongside them.

“We recognise that today’s proposals will be very difficult for the remarkable people who make up the heart of our business, and we will do everything in our power to provide the fullest support during this time.”

During lockdown, Boots’ ‘revenue-driving’ beauty and fragrance counters were closed, as were more than 100 larger stores in city centre, station and airport locations and the majority of Boots Opticians practices.

A Boots spokesperson said: “These factors severely impacted comparable retail sales, which decreased 48 per cent for Boots UK and 72 per cent for Boots Opticians in the third quarter (versus last year).

“Restrictions are beginning to lift, but with an uncertain economic outlook, it is anticipated that the high street will take considerable time to recover.”

In April 2019, US-based Walgreens Boots Alliance said it had started taking ‘decisive steps’ in the UK to cut costs, including reviewing its near-2,500 retail stores. Read more here

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