Boots has announced plans to shut down 300 stores across the country in a bid to increase ‘efficiency’.
The high street chemist, which is owned by the US group Walgreens Boots Alliance, said it will shut 300 brick-and-mortar sites in the next 12 months as part of plans to "evolve" the store estate.
While Boots hasn't confirmed the exact locations, those which are set to shut are said to be shops which are close to another site.
Thousands of jobs will be affected, but it is understood Boots hopes there will be no redundancies with all staff offered redeployment to nearby shops. The retailer currently employs more than 52,000 team members.
The move will see the number of stores across the country fall from 2,200 to 1,900.
James Kehoe, global chief financial officer at Boots’ parent company, Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), told analysts: "We will continue to optimise our locations and opening hours, and expect to close an additional 300 locations in the UK and 150 locations in the US."
The high street retailer already shut a number of stores across the country this year and closed more than 200 over 18 months from 2019.
The stores that have closed in 2023 are:
· Salford Shopping Centre, Greater Manchester
· Church Street, Malvern
· The Port Arcades Shopping Centre, Ellesmere
· King William Street, London
In 2020, Boots announced 48 opticians were closing with the loss of 4,000 jobs.
The latest decision comes despite the retailer’s 13.4% jump in sales in the three months that ended in May, compared to the same three months in 2022.
Overall Boots UK sales grew 10.2%. The rise in online sales outpaced the increase in footfall, signalling a move to online, away from bricks and mortar shops.
Sales on Boots.com were up 25% over a year ago and accounted for 14% of all retail sales. At the same time footfall increased 7% from the third quarter last year to this year.
Last year, Walgreens Boots shelved a sale of the retail chain after failing to find a buyer due to the turmoil in global financial markets.
Watch: Boots to close 300 shops across the UK as online sales grow