Boots UK has increased the number of jobs it is cutting from 4,000 to 6,500 the company has announced.
Speaking on a conference call to announce financial results for September, October and November 2020 to investors, James Kehoe, global chief financial officer for Boots’ parent company, Walgreens Boots Alliance, said the Boots UK workforce would now be cut by 11% instead of the 7% that it had announced in July 2020.
When the job cuts were first announced, Boots said that it did not expect them to affect pharmacists or pharmacy advisers, and a spokesperson for Boots UK confirmed to The Pharmaceutical Journal that this remains the case for the extra cut in roles.
Kehoe said on the call: “On smart organisation, Boots UK is ahead of plan. Following the third quarter announcement to reduce the Boots UK workforce by 7%, we are on track with the implementation and now expect a workforce reduction of nearly 11% or 6,500 positions.”
In the first quarter of the United States financial year 2020–2021, Boots UK saw its profits fall by more than 10%, with its parent company attributing much of the drop to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Walgreen Boots Alliance said that retail sales for Boots UK were 11.5% lower than the same quarter in the previous year.
But this was offset by an increase in pharmacy sales of 2.5% over the same period, which the firm said reflected “favorable timing of NHS reimbursement, which mitigated the impact of lower prescription volume and reduced demand for pharmacy services during the pandemic”.
Overall, this led to a drop in gross profit for Boots UK of 11.5% over the quarter.
Speaking on the conference call, Kehoe also said that Boots had now closed 158 of the 200 stores it had announced in June 2019 that it planned to shut. He said he expected the “store optimisation” programmes in both the UK and the United States to be complete by the end of this US financial year.
Kehoe added: “In summary, we are aggressively tackling our cost structure and we continue to identify new opportunites to deliver savings across all areas of spend, and that will free up the funds needed to invest in future areas of growth.”
- This article was amended on 11 January 2021 to clarify that Boots UK has already removed the job roles affected