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No pharmacy roles included in Boots’ ‘workforce reduction’ plans

Boots has completed 158 of the 200 planned branch closures

Boots' parent company has assured C+D that no pharmacy roles will be included in its plans to reduce the workforce by 6,500, or 11% in the UK.

The multiple announced in July the start of a consultation process that would see 4,000 jobs lost as part of a “significant restructuring” across its head office, pharmacy and opticians teams.

James Kehoe, global chief financial officer at Boots’ owner Walgreen Boots Alliance, told journalists yesterday (January 7), that the company was “on track with the implementation and now expect a workforce reduction of nearly 11% or 6,500 positions”.

The company told C+D today, that the additional reductions have been calculated through business-as-usual activities, such as the end of temporary contracts, and stressed that no pharmacy roles are included in this figure.

“Better at managing a lockdown”

Walgreens Boots Alliance yesterday reported a 11.5% profit drop across Boots UK in the three months to November 2020, attributing it to “COVID-19 related impacts”.

While overall sales for the quarter across the whole of Walgreens Boots Alliance “exceeded expectations”, COVID-19 and social restrictions were still impacting footfall to Boots branches, Mr Kehoe said on a conference call after the financial results.

“We think we're much better at managing through a lockdown now, which is good but still, it is a cloud in the future,” he added.

Branch closures continue

Boots has completed 158 of 200 planned branch closures, Mr Kehoe also confirmed on the call, as part of its “store optimisation programme” originally announced in June 2019.

“We expect the [closures] to be mostly complete by the end of the current fiscal year,” Mr Kehoe said.

The multiple temporarily paused the pharmacy closures last year, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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