Boots struggles in UK: retailer responds to claims 200 stores could close

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Boots struggles in UK: retailer responds to claims 200 stores could close
Boots, UK retail chain owned by Wallgreens Boots Alliance, is struggling in the face of fierce competition in beauty and personal care retail from discounters and online specialists.

The firm has said it is reviewing its 2500 shop portfolio as part of the US parent company’s aim to cut 1 bn USD in costs worldwide, and may close up to 200 stores in the UK as a result in the next two years.

On top of this, as reported in the Guardian​, up to 350 jobs are already on the line at Boots’ Nottingham head office as part of cost-cutting plans at the chain, where pre-tax profits fell by £100m and sales fell by more than 2% to £6.8bn in the year to last August.

Not as bad as it seems?

While many outlets have reported the potential store closures in the past few days, Boots has made efforts to downplay the potential impact of the portfolio review.

In a statement, a spokesperson from Boots explained: “We currently do not have a major programme envisaged, but as you’d expect we always review underperforming stores and seek out opportunities for consolidation.

“As is natural with a business of our size, we have stores opening, closing and relocating on a regular basis, but we have had around 2500 stores open for several years now.”

Indeed, the firm has made efforts to highlight ongoing investment into its stores, with a merchandising update of its self-selection cosmetics areas completed in 2200 stores last year.

It also plans to open a new flagship store in Covent Garden, London and reinvent its beauty business in 24 branches across the UK, as reported by Optometry Today​.

“We are being realistic about the future and that we will need to be agile to adapt to the changing landscape,” the spokesperson added. 

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