UNCERTAINTY surrounds the future of Boots after the retailer revealed 4,000 jobs would go and 48 of its Opticians branches would close as the bloodbath of High Street jobs continues.
The pharmacy, which has branches in Bromsgrove and Northfield, revealed its plans this morning.
It joins John Lewis, Pret a Manger, Upper Crust and Burger King as major names proposing to axe jobs in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Boots has 606 opticians branches in the UK, of which around 165 operate on a franchise basis.
The retailer has yet to reveal which stores it intends to close
In a statement, Boots blamed Covid-19 for a ‘significant’ impact on the business and said the action was needed to ‘ensure a long-term and healthy future for the UK’s leading pharmacy, health and beauty business’.
The retailer saw a dramatic 48 per cent drop in sales because of the impact of lockdown on the High Street while sales at Boots Opticians branches alone fell by 72 per cent compared to the same period last year.
While restrictions are beginning to lift on the High Street, Boots chiefs have warned of an uncertain economic outlook and fears it will take a considerable time for the High Street to recover.
The restructure will see seven per cent of its workforce axed across its stores and its head office in Nottingham but managing director Sebastian James said the changes would allow the company to remain at the heart of the UK’s health system.
“We recognise 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,” he said.
“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.”