Boots to shut 300 stores across UK over the next year
Boots has said it will shut 300 of its stores across Britain over the next year.
The historic retailer revealed the raft of closures despite posting stronger sales over the latest quarter.
The move, which it said will impact stores in close proximity to other sites, will reduce its store estate from 2,200 to 1,900 stores.
Boots said there are no proposed redundancies despite the plan, with plans to redeploy affected workers.
Retail sales across Boots jumped by 13.4% in the three months to the end of May 2023, compared to the same period last year.
It was driven up by a boost in online shoppers with sales on its digital platform surging by a quarter over the latest period.
Boots said its “Everyday” essentials label, which includes 60 toiletries and personal care products sold for less than £1.50, saw volume growth of 40% – meaning more products were sold.
The company said it reflects people opting for more affordable products, amid a squeeze on households’ disposable incomes.
More consumers are shopping at Boots more often, the chain said. It marks a shift from other major personal care retailers like Unilever which have seen sales boosted by higher prices rather than people buying more.
Beauty products, especially skincare, were best sellers over the latest period with sales up 18% year on year, and May recording the biggest week for the category outside of Christmas.
Its in-house brand No7 also sold well during the quarter, as well as suncare range Soltan amid seasonally warmer weather.
The group’s pharmacy arm saw sales grow by 5.7%, driven by hay fever products and over-the-counter medication, including the launch of its erectile dysfunction range, Eroxon.
It comes as owner WBA last year pulled its plans to sell the UK retailer, after receiving a number of takeover approaches including one valuing it at about £5 billion.
The Walgreens merger deal for Boots in 2014 valued the firm at about £9 billion at the time.
Seb James, Managing Director at Boots UK and ROI, said: “Our focus on offering our customers the best in healthcare and beauty, together with a continued commitment to great value, has been well received, and it is lovely to see more people choosing to shop with Boots.
“It is particularly pleasing to see our own brands proving popular, including an exceptional No7 performance.”