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Boots to close 200 stores

Some 200 Boots stores will be closing in the UK by 2021, with affected staff being promised redeployment to other local Boots pharmacies.

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Boots’s parent company has announced that it will close stores that are making a loss — around 8% of its UK stores

Boots is to close 200 stores during the next 18 months, its US parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) has announced.

WBA, which promised to re-employ staff affected by the move, said the closures represent 8% of its stores.

No details on which stores will close have been revealed.

Alex Gourlay, co-chief operating officer for WBA told investors on 27 June 2019: “Given the difficult market conditions in the UK, we have completed the review of our store portfolio and have started a store optimisation programme that will impact around 200 locations.

“Many of these 200 stores are loss making and approximately two-thirds of them are within walking distance of another Boots store. While the stores we plan to close represent around 8% of our store base, we expect the revenue impact will be around 1%. We do not expect a significant impact on colleagues as we plan to redeploy to nearby stores.”

Investors were told that the closures would have “no strategic impact” on the company’s ability to retrain its strength in the UK market, where it sees itself as a “profitable operator.”

Details about the closures and its confidence in its UK business were revealed as WBA announced its latest figures for the US financial quarter ending 31 May 2019.

Sales for WBA’s international arm — outside the United States — at the end of May 2019 totalled $2.8 billion, a decrease of 7.3% compared to the same time last year.

Taking currency fluctuations into account, the company said that the decrease in sales of 1.6% was “mainly due to a 1% decline in Boots UK.”


Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206737

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