In an effort to optimize its store locations, Walgreens Boots Alliance will shutter 300 Boots doors across the UK. This news of Boots closures came despite the brand posting stronger sales over the latest quarter.
During a quarterly earnings call, James Kehoe, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Financial Officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance, confirmed the closures as part of a "transformation plan." “As you have seen, we are accelerating our portfolio optimization to further simplify the business,” he said.
Sales across Boots jumped by 13.4% in the three months before the end of May, compared to the same period last year, driven by a surge in online shoppers and own-brand label sales as customers looked to save money. Its "Everyday" essentials label saw volume growth of 40%.
Seb James, Managing Director at Boots UK and ROI, said, “Our focus on offering our customers the best in healthcare and beauty, together with a continued commitment to great value, has been well received, and it is lovely to see more people choosing to shop with Boots. It is particularly pleasing to see our own brands proving popular, including an exceptional No7 performance.”
The move will leave 1,900 Boots locations across the UK from a base of 2,200. It is not yet known which locations will be impacted, but a redeployment plan is supposed to create no redundancies for the 52,000 staff.
A Boots spokesperson said, "Evolving the store estate in this way allows Boots to concentrate its 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."
Earlier this year, Walgreens Boots Alliance faced pressure to break up its business and sell or float Boots. At the time of the 2014 merger deal for Boots the company was valued at about £9 billion. After receiving a number of takeover offers, with one valuing the company at about £5 billion, Walgreens Boots Alliance ultimately decided to pull the retailer off the market.
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