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Boots to close 300 stores despite strong quarterly sales

Boots UK

The US owner of Boots plans to shutter 300 stores in close proximity to each other as part of plans to “consolidate” the business, despite a 13.4% rise in quarterly turnover.

Walgreens Boots Alliance said it was “evolving the store estate” and would “focus investment more acutely in individual stores”. The BBC has reported there will be no redundancies as staff will be offered work at nearby stores.

This latest news has caused some industry reports to question if Walgreens boss, Stefano Pessina, might be considering putting Boots back up for sale. Walgreens abandoned a £5bn sale a year ago, citing global financial market conditions, which meant potential buyers were struggling to borrow money to finance a deal.

Boots has since reported a rise in people shopping online, trade via its website was up more than 25% in the three months to the end of May representing over 14% of sales. It has also seen consumers choosing own-brand labels as they look to save money, its “Everyday” essentials label saw volume growth of 40%. Boots own-brand suncare range, Soltan, also rose 19% year on year.

Seb James, managing director of Boots in the UK and Ireland, said: “It is particularly pleasing to see our owned brands proving popular, including an exceptional No7 performance. I would like to thank all of our team members for their hard work in delivering these results.”

At the end of May, WBA unveiled plans to cut its corporate workforce by 10% in a bid to streamline operations. According to Reuters, store positions are not being affected, alongside the company’s fulfilment outlets and call centre roles.

The health and beauty retailer’s parent company also revealed in May that it had been struck by a major cyber attack. The widespread attack targeted payroll provider Zellis which serves nearly half of FTSE 100 companies. The stolen data includes names, addresses and national insurance numbers of some of Boot’s 50,000 employees in the UK.

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