The British health and beauty retail giant Boots has announced plans to close 300 stores across the UK within the next year. This decision comes as part of a broader strategy by Walgreens Boots Alliance, the parent company of Boots, to optimize its store locations and adapt to the changing retail landscape.
Boots, a well-known British retailer specializing in health and beauty products, currently operates around 2,200 stores across the UK. However, this number is set to reduce to approximately 1,900 following the planned closures. The company aims to consolidate several stores located in close proximity to each other, allowing it to focus its workforce where they are most needed and allocate investments more effectively towards individual stores.
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The decision to close these stores follows a trend of retail store closures due to various factors such as over-expansion, cash crunch, brand related issues, mall related issues, economic and demographic reasons. In particular, the ever-growing prominence of online shopping and increased borrowing costs have been identified as key factors causing retail locations to close.
Despite the planned closures, Boots has assured that there will be no job redundancies, with all staff offered redeployment to nearby shops. This move is expected to affect thousands of jobs but aims to avoid layoffs by transferring employees to neighboring locations.
Interestingly, the announcement of the store closures comes despite strong quarterly sales for Boots. The company saw a 13.4 percent increase in sales of its own brands in the last quarter, with particularly high sales of sunscreen during the UK’s hot spell. Sales of own-label health and beauty products are also rising as households look for ways to save money.
“While the company has seen strong sales growth, the changing retail landscape and the rise of online shopping have necessitated a rethink of its physical store presence,” said Retail Expert, Jeanel Alvarado.
Trade via its website rose by more than 25% in the three months to the end of May, representing over 14% of sales. This shift reflects the broader trend in the retail industry, with an increasing number of consumers choosing to shop online rather than in physical stores.