London (CNN Business) – Boots has announced plans to close 200 stores in the United Kingdom, making it the latest big retailer to take the knife to costs.
Walgreens Boots Alliance said that many of the stores slated to be closed over the next 18 months are losing money, and most are located within walking distance of another location.
“There’s no doubt that trading conditions are tough … and health care and retail are facing a challenging reality,” said managing director Sebastian James. “Boots is not immune to these pressures.”
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Other UK retailers including Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, House of Fraser and Maplin have announced store closures. Some restaurant chains are also under pressure.
There are over 2,400 Boots stores in the United Kingdom, meaning that roughly 8% of existing stores will be closed. The company said the “overwhelming majority” of workers would be moved to other locations.
The company said it was expecting a 1% hit to revenue as a result of the closures. On Thursday, it reported that comparative store sales dropped 2.6% in its fiscal third quarter.
“We’re still a very successful company with a phenomenal presence in the United Kingdom but we need to take some tough decisions to transform the fundamentals of our business,” said James.
Boots, which sells health and beauty products, said it plans to make stores more personalized. It has also launched a prescription app for pharmacy customers.
Walgreens Boots Alliance has a presence in 25 countries and employs over 415,000 people.
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