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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 over the lockdown period.

This led to “more home delivery slots, and drove a 78% increase in 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.

Are you worried about losing your job as a result of COVID-19?

Getting Shorter, Community pharmacist

To be fair, I actually prefer this straightforward and honest approach - profit and workload has plumetted, we will have to cut some jobs - to LP's blather the other day about organiational changes to be able to meet the needs of customers and patients, which is basically just dressing up the same thing.

Never expected to be supporting Boots in anything, mind!

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Hmm, in my opinion, their work to delivering online and distance pharmacy was already underway, considering their current projects in Galloway Gate. With that transition, inevitability, the company would have to start considering the attrition of staff.

Did COVID simply give them a good reason to do it sooner? And has workload plummeted? Data would suggest it is trending to average the same according to NHSBSA, medication demand hasn't changed, the panic was back in March.

"Lie to a liar, for lies are his coin; steal from a thief, for that is easy; lay a trap for the trickster and catch him at the first attempt, but beware of an honest man."

N Locum, Locum pharmacist

Dispensary staff and Pharmacist unaffected by the cuts however footfall has dropped considerably in majority of their Retail stores which is why only customer advisors and assistant managers are undergoing consultations. 


Greatly Pedantic and Highly Clueless, Senior Management

Don't worry. The private equity owners will do what's best for them. 

Julie Friday, Accuracy checking technician

I take it that the 4,000 job cuts and the closure of 48 Optician stores is on top of the 350 head office job cuts and closure of 200 Boots stores that was announced last year? Also the sale of 44 Boots stores that appears on the christie and co website.

Industry Pharmacist, Head/Senior Manager

Pharmacist redundancies are inevitable.

N Locum, Locum pharmacist

Boots can't even keep hold of their Pharmacist let alone attempt to make them redundant. Majority of their Pre-regs also leave within 12 months after burn out.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

I'm just thinking they should add '...yet....' to the end of the headline.

I'm not worried about losing my job because I am, as soon as possible, telling my job to take a running jump because I have had ENOUGH.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

How long have you got left now? You were planning on moving on soon, right?

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

ASAP but Covid has stuck a spanner in the works because no-one is recruiting at the moment. No matter what though I won't be renewing at the end of this year. Comes to something when I'd rather have a life on benefits than working in the cesspit that pharmacy has become.

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