Boots owner explores 200-plus store closures

Boots sales
// Boots parent company Walgreen Boots Alliance is exploring hundreds of store closures
// More than 200 stores have reportedly been placed under review
// Decision yet to be made but closures could take place in the next two years

The US parent company of Boots is reportedly exploring the possibility of closing down hundreds of stores as it embarks on a review.

According to Sky News, New York-listed Walgreens Boots Alliance has placed more than 200 Boots stores in the UK under review for possible closure over the next two years.

A decision on which of the earmarked stores will close down has not yet been made, but sources speaking to Sky News said “a significant number” could end up being axed.

The 200-plus shops under review represent just under 10 per cent of Boots’ standalone UK health and beauty store estate.

Boots also employs about 56,000 people.

Some of the affected sites would reportedly close down at the expiry of their leases, while others would be part of a consolidation in towns which currently have two separate Boots stores.

Affected staff would reportedly be redeployed to an area’s existing or new Boots store.

News of the store estate review comes after Boots’ recent full-year results showed pre-tax profits dropping 20 per cent to £398 million for the financial year ending August 31, 2018.

Meanwhile, operating profit fell 22.3 per cent to £391 million and sales slipped 0.8 per cent to £6.7 billion during the period.

The full-year results came after Walgreens Boots Alliance in April said it would reduce and slash costs after the “most difficult” quarter in the company’s history.

This means closing down poor performing shops across its estate as well as “opportunities for consolidation”.

The company said it would review 2500 stores, but it was not specified at the time how many of those would be from its Boots chain.

Boots has declined to comment on the latest news regarding the 200 store reviews.

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