Boots confirms store closure programme will be completed in summer 2024

Boots UK said the remaining pharmacy closures are part of already announced plans to close 300 pharmacies, announced in June 2023.
Closed Boots pharmacy in Crewe

High street pharmacy multiple Boots has announced it will close the remaining stores of its planned programme to shut 300 UK pharmacy branches in the summer of 2024.

In June 2023, Boots parent company, Walgreens Boots Alliance, said that it would close 300 UK pharmacies over the following year, as part of plans to save US$800m.

However, Boots confirmed to The Pharmaceutical Journal on 5 July 2023 that a small number of pharmacies from that programme had yet to close, but would do so over the summer of 2024.

The Boots UK website says it currently has 2,100 stores in the UK.

In its quarterly financial statement, published on 27 June 2024, covering March, April and May 2024, Walgreens Boots Alliance said its cost-saving plan included the closure of “up to 650 Boots stores” in the UK. It added that the company had closed 581 of these stores as of 31 May 2024.

Boots UK confirmed that the remaining pharmacies to close are part of plans already announced and are not additional pharmacy closures.

In 2019, the company said it planned to close 200 “loss-making” UK pharmacies as part of a “transformational cost management programme”, with a further 150 pharmacy closures announced in November 2021 in quarterly financial filings.

The further 300 closures announced in June 2023 brought the number of UK pharmacy closures under the cost-saving plan to 650 closures in total.

Walgreens Boots Alliance’s cost-saving programme was announced on 20 December 2018, with intentions to save US$2bn by 2022. This target was met by the end of 2021.

Saving targets were increased each year, with an announcement made in 2023 that the plan would be extended to the end of 2024, with a new annual cost saving target of US$4.5bn.

According to the company’s financial statement, it is “currently on track to achieve the savings target”.

A statement, published by Walgreens Boots Alliance alongside the quarterly filings on 27 June 2024, said that pharmacy sales at Boots UK had increased by 5.8% compared with the same period in 2023.

Tim Wentworth, chief executive of Walgreens Boots Alliance, said: “We continue to face a difficult operating environment, including persistent pressures on the US consumer and the impact of recent marketplace dynamics, which have eroded pharmacy margins. Our results and outlook reflect these headwinds, despite solid performance in both our international and US healthcare segments.

“Informed by our strategic review, we are focused on improving our core business: retail pharmacy, which is central to the future of healthcare. We are addressing critical issues with urgency and working to unlock opportunities for growth.”

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, July 2024, Vol 313, No 7987;313(7987)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2024.1.322905

    Please leave a comment 

    You may also be interested in