High street pharmacy chain Boots has said it plans to cut more than 4,000 jobs – 7 per cent of its workforce – as part of action to mitigate the “significant impact” of Covid-19.
The company has recently announced closures of several branches across the UK.
The move will particularly affect staff in its Nottingham support office, as well as some deputy and assistant manager, beauty adviser and customer adviser roles across its stores.
48 Boots Opticians stores will be closed as a result of the restructuring, following a dive of 72 per cent in sales compared in the last three months compared to the same quarter last year.
It comes after retail sales fell by 48 per cent over the past three months as the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on businesses, despite Boots keeping numerous stores open to customers.
The company said the cuts represent an “acceleration” of its transformation plans to improve profitably across the business.
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.
“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.”
He added: “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.”
Earlier on Thursday, high street department store John Lewis announced eight of its stores will not reopen after the pandemic, leading to the likely loss of 1,300 jobs.
As businesses continue to grapple with the economic fallout of the public health crisis, economists have forecasted that five million people could be unemployed in the UK by the end of this year if a second wave of the virus hits.