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Boots warns of UK store closures

The American owner of pharmacy chain Boots has warned of possible UK store closures as it looks to slash costs following the ‘most difficult’ quarter in the group’s history, with like-for-like sales down by 2.3%.

US-based Walgreens Boots Alliance said it would be prepared to take ‘decisive steps’ to cut costs as part of a company-wide restructuring and that it is looking at poorly performing shops as well as ‘opportunities for consolidation’.

It also revealed that the store portfolio review is underway across the global business, including the 2,485 retail stores across the UK which employ about 56,000 staff.

The cost cutting plans follow the company’s announcement in February that 350 jobs are at risk in its Nottingham head office amid plans to trim HQ staff costs by 20%.

But Boots in the UK said there were no plans for major reductions, adding that it had managed to maintain its market share in the most recent quarter.

“We currently do not have a major programme envisaged, but as you’d expect, we always review underperforming stores and seek out opportunities for consolidation,” it said.

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