Boots planning 200 store closures in new retail blow

Boots could be set to close hundreds of stores in the latest blow to hit UK high streets.

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), the American owner of the chemist, has reportedly placed more than 200 of its shops under review, according to Sky News.

The outlets under review could face closure during the next two years.

According to sources, Boots said decisions were still under discussion, however confirmed that a large number were likely to close.

Speaking last month, WBA said that the review was ‘focusing on low-performing stores and opportunities for consolidation’.

At least 10% of the chain’s stores would be shut if the 200 under review are closed. The news follows a huge blow for Sir Philip Green’s retail empire, which confirmed last week that it will close 23 shops, putting 520 jobs at risk.

The stores will include Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Topshop and Topman. It’s part of a rescue proposal for Arcadia Group which will see rent cut at another 194 outlets.

Patrick O’Brien, retail research director at GlobalData warned Boots’ review could be too late to address its market share decline.

“Shoppers have been trading down to discounters and trading up to higher end retailers for more expensive treats and gifts.

“Long term lack of investment in stores has become more noticeable to shoppers, and Boots’ dated approach also extends to pricing, where multi-buy promotions and a generous loyalty scheme have made its shelf edge prices uncompetitive with discounters such as Aldi, Lidl and Savers, who have all been eating into its market share in health & beauty,” he said.

Boots is one of a string of well-known names suffering in a tough High Street environment.

Last year, Poundworld, Toys R Us and Maplin all went bust and disappeared altogether. Other household names – Homebase, Mothercare, Carpetright and New Look – were forced into restructuring deals with their landlords, closing hundreds of stores.

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Photo Credit: Boots UK

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