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4,000 Boots jobs cuts 'not expected' to affect pharmacists

The health and beauty giant is cutting 4,000 jobs, or 7% of its overall workforce, to “mitigate the significant impact that COVID-19 has had on the business”, it has announced.

Boots told C+D that the job losses are "not expected" to affect its pharmacists or pharmacy advisors.

The multiple announced today (9 July) the start of a “consultation” process that will see 4,000 jobs lost as part of a “significant restructuring” across its head office, pharmacy and opticians teams, as well as the closure of 48 Boots Opticians stores.

“Dramatically reduced” footfall

Footfall in Boots stores “dramatically reduced” due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and despite lockdown measures easing in the UK, the company anticipates that the high street will “take considerable time to recover”.

Boots UK saw a drop in comparable retail sales of 48% between March and May, which it blamed on the reduction in footfall, the closure of its “revenue-driving” beauty and fragrance counters and the closure of “more than 100 larger stores in city centres, station and airport locations”.

The pandemic also “accelerated the shift” towards digital channels and online shopping, which caused Boots to double the capacity of Boots.com over the lockdown period.

This led to “more home delivery slots, and drove a 78% increase in Boots.com sales over the period”, Boots said.

“Additional actions included increasing the capacity of the free online repeat prescription deliveries, and the introduction of new online pharmacy and beauty services such as virtual consultations,” it added.

“Very difficult” news

Seb James, Boots’ managing director, said the actions will “allow Boots to continue its vital role as part of the UK health system, and ensure profitable long-term growth”.

“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,” he said.

“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,” Mr James added.

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