Boots and Walgreens to close 450 branches across UK and US

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Boots will shut 300 shops within the UK and an extra 150 Walgreens branches within the US over the following 12 months as guardian firm Walgreens Boots Alliance seeks to “optimise” areas.

James Kehoe, government vice-president and international finance chief, confirmed the closures throughout an earnings name with analysts on Tuesday.

“As you could have seen, we’re accelerating our portfolio optimisation to additional simplify the enterprise,” he stated.

The choice was introduced because the pharmacy group slashed its earnings forecast for the 12 months amid weakening demand for Covid-related merchandise and stated customers have been extra “cautious and value-driven”.

It additionally raised its cost-savings goal after it missed revenue expectations within the third quarter, sending the shares down 9 per cent to $28.64 in afternoon buying and selling — the bottom in additional than 11 years. 

“Just like different retailers, we’ve been impacted by the fast softening of the macro atmosphere and a extra cautious and value-driven client,” Walgreens chief government Rosalind Brewer stated on its convention name.

It reported a 0.2 per cent fall in same-store gross sales at its retail division, in contrast with estimates of a 2.1 per cent enhance after decrease demand for Covid-19 exams and vaccines. Similar-store gross sales at its pharmacies, nevertheless, rose 9.8 per cent forward of estimates of 8.8 per cent, partly due to increased costs.

Walgreens now expects adjusted earnings per share of $4.00 to $4.05 in 2023, from $4.45 to $4.65 beforehand. Revenue fell 59 per cent to $118mn within the quarter to Might 31 however gross sales have been up 8.6 per cent to $35.4bn.

The newest spherical of closures within the US comes after the corporate stated it might shut one other 200 websites in 2019.

Within the UK, Boots stated it might proceed to refurbish and consolidate shops which might be shut to one another over the following 12 months. No redundancies have been proposed and all affected workers might be provided work at close by shops.

A 12 months in the past, Walgreens deserted plans to promote Boots, which was anticipated to herald billions of {dollars}, blaming instability within the monetary markets.

Most closing Boots websites are situated inside 5km of one other, with clients largely remaining inside a 10-minute drive of an outlet. Throughout the UK 1,900 branches might be left.

The transfer will permit the retailer to “focus its crew members the place they’re wanted and focus funding extra acutely in particular person shops”, the chain stated.

Boots stays dedicated to the UK excessive avenue, in keeping with individuals aware of the choice, regardless of high-profile collapses equivalent to Debenhams and Topshop’s proprietor Arcadia.

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