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10 July 2020 08:32

John Lewis & Partners Boots Coronavirus

Boots store closures: More than 4,000 jobs cut and 48 opticians branches to shut

The future of the Boots Opticians in Haverhill, its staff and workers at the town's Boots store are now under threat after the retailer announced what it described as a 'transformation plan'. The impact of covid-19 has, said the company, severely impacted comparable retail sales, which decreased 48 per cent for Boots UK and 72 per cent for Boots Opticians in the third quarter (versus last year). Restrictions are beginning to lift, added the retailer, but with an uncertain economic outlook, it is anticipated that the high street will take considerable time to recover. Boots has had a store in Haverhill for 80 years A statement from Boots said: "Boots has announced today the start of a consultation process for a significant restructuring across its head office, store teams and Opticians teams, resulting in a reduction of its headcount of more than 4,000 (7 per cent of the workforce), and the closure of 48 Boots Opticians stores." Boots hasstore and a separate opticians in Haverhill High Street. Sebastian James, Managing Director, Boots UK, said: "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.

48 Boots Opticians are to be closed In a shock announcement, Walgreens, the parent company of Boots, have announced they are closing 48 opticians across the country. They'll also make 4,000 people redundant in optician teams, head office and stores. There's no word yet which of their opticians will be closed. Bedford's Boots Opticians is based in their town centre store, they have another store at the Interchange Retail Park. "The adverse impact of COVID-19 on sales in the quarter was approximately $700 million to $750 million, with the majority of the impact related to the Retail Pharmacy International division," said a statement from the company.

"This reflected a dramatic reduction in footfall in Boots UK stores – down 85 percent in April – as consumers were advised to leave home only for food and medicine." Meanwhile John Lewis is shutting eight stores, putting 1,300 jobs at risk. It has been confirmed their store in Milton Keynes is not part of this closure plan. BOOTS is set to axe more than 4,000 jobs and shut 48 of its opticians branches. The retailer is the latest business to announce job cuts and store closures as the coronavirus crisis continues to cause havoc on the struggling UK high street. 1 Boots is the latest retailer to announce job cuts and store closures Credit: PA:Press Association Boots is the second high street name to announce cuts today after John Lewis revealed plans to close eight stores, putting 1,300 jobs at risk.

The retailer says its restructure will reduce the "significant impact" Covid-19 has had on its profits. Its retail sales have tumbled by 48 per cent over the past three months, while its opticians business saw sales dive by 72 per cent compared to the same quarter last year. The job cuts will affect around 7 per cent of the company's workforce, and will particularly hit workers in its Nottingham support office. It will also affect some deputy and assistant manager, beauty adviser and customer adviser roles across its stores. Boots has 606 opticians branches in the UK, of which around 165 operate on a franchise basis.

Some are standalone opticians, while others are located inside larger Boots stores or supermarkets. Not all Boots opticians remained open during lockdown, with the majority only taking emergency appointments. Its health and beauty stores were allowed to keep their doors open as they were deemed "essential" by the government, largely due to the fact that they sell medicines. However, its beauty halls and perfume counters were ordered to shut - these reopened on July 4. The Sun has asked Boots for a list of opticians that will close and we'll update this story when we know more.

In its statement released today, Boots said the cuts are an "acceleration" of its transformation plans to improve profitably. This week has also seen Pret a Manger announce it will close 30 shops. It comes as the Centre for Retail Research predicts that 20,000 shops could close for good this year. Most read in Business GOING GREEN Rishi Sunak's mini-Budget confirms £5,000 energy saving voucher for households RISHI'S DISHES How to make the most of Rishi's meal deal at restaurants GET SPENDING What voucher schemes did Rishi Sunak launch today? EATING IS CHEATING Brits plan to eat courses at different restaurants to 'cheat' meal deal CLOSED DOORS From indoor theatres to nightclubs - list of businesses NOT reopening in July Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK, said: "I am so very grateful to all our colleagues for their dedication during the last few challenging months. "We recognise that today's proposals will be very difficult for the remarkable people who make up the heart of our business, and we will do everything in our power to provide the fullest support during this time." A total of 48 Boots Opticians practices will permanently close as part of the company's response to Covid-19, which includes 4,000 job losses across the wider business. The majority of Boots Opticians stores closed during lockdown alongside more than 100 larger retail stores, which the company said had severely impacted retail sales. Retail sales decreased by 72% for Boot Opticians in the third quarter compared to last year and Boots anticipates that the high street will take a considerable time to recover. Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK, said: 'We recognise that today's proposals will be very difficult for the remarkable people who make up the heart of our business and we will do everything in our power to provide the fullest support during this time.' The closures and job losses are part of Boots UK's transformation plan in response to the pandemic, which includes 'a significant restructuring' across its head office, store and opticians teams. When asked by Optician about where the closures would take place and how the practices had been identified, Boots Opticians said that the company is entering a consultation period with colleagues and so it cannot be specific about their locations or any further details at this point. Boots UK has revealed plans to cut 4,000 jobs and close opticians practices across the country because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Nottingham-headquartered company said it is taking "decisive action to mitigate the significant impact" that Covid-19 has had on the business and is "accelerating" the next phase of its 'Transformation Plan'. In a statement, the historic firm said the move will "ensure a long-term and healthy future for the UK's leading pharmacy, health and beauty business". Boots said that footfall into its stores has dramatically reduced and its revenue-driving beauty and fragrance counters were closed during the height of the lockdown. More than 100 larger stores in city centre, station and airport locations were shut as were the majority of Boots Opticians practices. Boots said these factors "severely impacted" comparable retail sales, which decreased 48 per cent for Boots UK and 72 per cent for Boots Opticians in the third quarter, versus last year. The cuts will effect 7 per cent of its workforce and see the closure of 48 Boots Opticians stores. Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK, said: "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. 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. 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. "We recognise that today's proposals will be very difficult for the remarkable people who make up the heart of our business, and we will do everything in our power to provide the fullest support during this time."