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Boots to close 300 branches

Pharmacy News

Boots to close 300 branches

Boots UK has said it plans to close 300 stores across the country in the next year.

The move comes amid continuing speculation about a potential break-up by its US owner, Walgreens Boots Alliance.

The closures are expected to reduce Boots' store count from approximately 2,200 to around 1,900, with a focus on shutting premises that are near other Boots sites. It is understood that no redundancies are anticipated as a result of these closures with those employees affected deployed elsewhere in the group.

Announcing its quarterly results yesterday, the multiple said: “In addition to uplifting existing stores, over the next year Boots will continue to consolidate a number of stores in close proximity to each other.” 

According to Boots, the decision will allow it to concentrate team members “where they are needed” and “focus investment more acutely in individual stores with the ambition of consistently delivering an excellent and reliable service in a fresh and up to date environment”.

In 2019, Boots announced plans to shut down around 200 stores within two years. Walgreens Boots Alliance last year pulled back from a potential sale of the UK chain after failing to find a buyer citing a dramatic change” in financial markets.

Responding to the news Leyla Hannbeck, chief executive of AIMp, said on Twitter: “So far around 1,000 pharmacies [in England] have closed for good. We have repeatedly highlighted our sector’s big struggles with lack of funding. We urge the government to urgently act to stop the demise of community pharmacy.”

Pharmacist Waqas Ahmad, also on Twitter, added: “Hot on the heels of all Lloyds in Sainsburys closing this week (and the rest of Lloyds pharmacies closing or being divested), Boots now announcing closure of 300 stores. The state of funding for pharmacy in England is dire, with at least £1.3bn needed.”

Community Pharmacy England chief executive Janet Morrison said: “It is no surprise to hear that another multiple is looking at consolidations: this trend is reflective of the very difficult current trading conditions within community pharmacy.

“While consolidations can make a difference across large networks, smaller and medium-sized businesses are having to look at other options in the struggle to make ends meet: running a community pharmacy remains, for most, a battle for survival. Government and the NHS must take action to reverse the damage that their historic funding cuts are causing.”

Boots was approached for comment.

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