Boots to slash more than 4,000 jobs as sales drop nearly 50%

The high street retailer said the pandemic had severely impacted sales and has now entered a consultation process

High street pharmacy chain Boots has said 4,000 jobs will be axed from its workforce, as it grapples with the aftermath of reduced footfall and decreased sales due to Covid-19.

The Walgreens Boots Alliance-owned retailer said reduced footfall and shuttered stores had severely impacted sales, which decreased by almost 50% in Q3.

According to the retail owner, the most significant impact of Covid-19 was experienced in the UK market, meanwhile, adverse sales were impacted by approximately US$700m to $750m, almost entirely from the company's non-US businesses.

In response, a consultation process is underway ahead of a “significant” restructuring of its head office, store and opticians teams.

“The proposals announced today are decisive actions to accelerate our Transformation Plan, allow Boots to continue its vital role as part of the UK health system, and ensure profitable long-term growth,” said Boots’ Managing Director Sebastian James.

“In doing this, we are building a stronger and more modern Boots for our customers, patients and colleagues.”

“I am so very grateful to all our colleagues for their dedication during the last few challenging months,” he added.

“They have stepped forward to support their communities, our customers and the NHS during this time, and I am extremely proud to be serving alongside them.”

James also said he recognised the decision will be “very difficult” for employees and committed to providing “the fullest support during this time”.

The news comes on the same day that department store chain John Lewis announced it will shutter eight more stores, putting 1,300 jobs at risk.

Boots said it will continue to review and adopt its transformation plan as the effects of the pandemic become clearer.

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