Boots to cut more than 4,000 jobs
Boots is to reduce its workforce by more than 4,000 as it looks to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement, the company said the crisis has also led it to accelerate the next stage of its transformation plan to secure the long-term future of its pharmacy and health and beauty businesses.
While Boots shops remained open during the retail lockdown period, the company said footfall was dramatically reduced, particularly as revenue driving beauty and fragrance counters were closed. In addition, more than 100 larger stores in city centre, station and airport locations were shuttered, as were the majority of Boots Opticians practices.
The closures meant that revenue fell by 48% year-on-year at Boots and by 72% at Boots Opticians in the company’s third quarter.
Boots has now started a consultation process for a “significant restructuring” across its head office, store teams and opticians business. This will result in the headcount being reduced by more that 4,000 or by 7% of the total workforce. Boots will also be closing 48 Boots Opticians stores.
Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK, said: “The proposals announced today are decisive actions to accelerate our transformation plan, allow Boots to continue its vital role as part of the UK health system, and ensure profitable long-term growth. In doing this, we are building a stronger and more modern Boots for our customers, patients and colleagues.
“I am so very grateful to all our colleagues for their dedication during the last few challenging months. They have stepped forward to support their communities, our customers and the NHS during this time, and I am extremely proud to be serving alongside them.
“We recognise that today’s proposals will be very difficult for the remarkable people who make up the heart of our business, and we will do everything in our power to provide the fullest support during this time.”
Boots said the Covid-19 lockdown accelerated a customer shift towards digital channels in the period, which resulted in the company doubling the capacity of Boots.com. This helped drive a 78% increase in online sales.
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