Boots has announced plans to cut more than 4000 jobs as part of action to mitigate the “significant impact” of Covid-19.
The move will affect around seven per cent of the health and beauty retailer’s total UK workforce and will particularly affect staff in its Nottingham support office.
It will also affect some deputy manager, assistant manager, beauty adviser and customer adviser roles across its stores.
The restructuring will also result in the closure of 48 Boots Opticians stores.
The retail giant said it has started a consultation process with affected staff.
The news comes after retail sales plunged 48 per cent during its third quarter because of the coronavirus pandemic, despite Boots keeping swathes of its stores open during lockdown as it was classified as an essential retailer.
The retailer said footfall into Boots stores “dramatically reduced” during the lockdown, and its revenue-driving beauty and fragrance counters were closed.
More than 100 larger Boots stores in city centre, station and airport locations were also closed.
Meanwhile, its opticians business saw sales dive by 72 per cent compared to the same quarter last year as people stayed at home.
While lockdown restrictions beginning to lift, Boots said an uncertain economic outlook meant it expected the high street would take considerable time to recover.
The retailer added that the cuts represented an “acceleration” of its transformation plans to improve profitably across the business.
“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,” Boots UK managing director Sebastian James said.
“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.
“In doing this, we are building a stronger and more modern Boots for our customers, patients and colleagues.
“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.”
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