Boots to close 200 stores in major blow to Brit High Street

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The health and beauty chain has announced it will close around 200 locations, which is nearly 10% of its UK store portfolio.

It will shut mainly local pharmacy branches in locations where there are other Boots stores nearby.

The closures will take place in the next year and a half, and an “overwhelming majority” of staff affected will be redeployed.

Boots’ US owner Walgreen Boots Alliance is yet to confirm exactly which stores will close down.

Boots UK’s managing director Sebastian James said: “WBA has now approved an outline plan to consolidate around 200, principally local pharmacy, stores where we have a large number within close proximity.

“We believe this is the right thing to do as it means that we can invest more in staffing those stores while not reducing our 90% coverage within a 10-minute drive of a Boots.

“We do not anticipate a significant effect from this activity to colleagues as we will redeploy the overwhelming majority to neighbouring stores.

“At the same time, we continue to open new stores where we believe there are communities that would benefit from a new Boots – for example the new Covent Garden flagship, creating 130 new jobs, which opened yesterday.”

Boots is one of the UK’s largest retailers by store numbers, with 56,000 staff in 2,485 stores.

The huge number of workers are also employed from a further 618 opticians practices and 503 Hearingcare locations.

The struggling chain had seen profits plunge by more than 18% last year as the High Street crisis strengthened its grip and shoppers continued to migrate online.

It now aims to cut costs by £1.2billion by the 2022 financial year.

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