Boots shuts nearly all 200 pharmacies earmarked for closure

Exclusive: Walgreens Boots Alliance, the parent company of Boots, has confirmed that almost all of the 200 "loss making" pharmacies have closed.

The 200 Boots pharmacies earmarked for closure have “largely now closed”, the multiple has confirmed to The Pharmaceutical Journal.

The closures, for which plans were announced by Boots’ parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) in June 2019, were the result of “difficult market conditions in the UK”, with the company describing the pharmacies as “loss making”.

Boots confirmed the pharmacies had closed to The Pharmaceutical Journal in an email on 17 January 2022, following an interview with its chief pharmacist Marc Donovan, in which he stated that he “wouldn’t be able to say” that there would be no further pharmacy closures by the multiple.

In addition, Donovan confirmed that pharmacy services within 22 Boots retail stores had also now closed. Plans for these closures had previously been announced in November 2021.

The spate of closures comes after the multiple saw a dramatic fall in its profits in 2020, when it reported a 255% decline on the previous year, having already experienced a drop in profit in 2019 and 2018.

However, WBA said in a statement on 6 January 2022 that Boots pharmacy sales between September and November 2021 increased by 8.8%, when compared with the same three months in 2020.

Commenting on the pharmacy closures announced in 2019, Donovan said Boots would continue to reviews its pharmacy network.

“We know we live in a changing market environment and we continually have that review. So, for me to say that there will be no further store closures, I wouldn’t be able to say that. Of course, we will open some, sometimes that means we close some.

“We’ve closed 22 pharmacies as part of an ongoing phase of that review. But, equally, we’ve opened almost 20 in 2020 and 2021.”

Boots is currently rumoured to be up for sale, with The Times reporting on 16 January 2021 that the owners of supermarket chain Asda, the EG Group, are preparing a bid for the multiple, alongside a joint bid from private equity firms CVC Capital Partners and Bain Capital.

In November 2021, McKesson Corporation sold LloydsPharmacy to asset management group Aurelius.

Read more: Pharmacy ‘first ports of call’ are disappearing in struggling communities

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, January 2022, Vol 308, No 7957;308(7957)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2022.1.124264

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