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Boots to axe 4,000 jobs as high street bloodbath continues

People queuing outside a Boots chemist
There are going to be yet more cuts on the high street (Picture: Getty Images Europe)

Boots the chemist has said it will axe 4,000 jobs in the latest round of cuts on the high street.

The pharmacy chain said it has taken the decision as part of action to lessen the ‘significant impact’ of the coronavirus pandemic.

Around 7% of the company’s workforce is expected to be affected, mainly in its Nottingham support office.

It will also affect some deputy and assistant manager, beauty adviser and customer adviser roles across its 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.



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‘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.

Bikeworks cycling instructor Jelil Adebiyi leaves a Boots store
Boots has seen a huge drop in sales despite many stores remaining open during the pandemic (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

‘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 company’s retail sales dropped by 48% over the past three months, despite a large number of stores staying open in lockdown for essential purchases.

The restructuring will also result in the closure of 48 Boots Opticians stores, after it saw sales dive by 72% compared to the same quarter last year.

The news comes after a number of shock announcements were made today about huge losses of jobs on Britain’s high streets in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.

John Lewis says it will permanently close eight of its stores, putting 1,300 jobs at risk.

Two full-size department stores in Birmingham and Watford are closing, as well as four At Home shops in Croydon, Newbury, Swindon and Tamworth, and two travel hub outlets at Heathrow and St Pancras.

The John Lewis Partnership said the decision was made to ‘secure the business’s long-term future and respond to customers’ shopping needs’.

Burger King UK’s boss also warned earlier up to 1,600 jobs could be lost.

Only about 370 of the restaurant chain’s 530 UK stores have reopened since the nation went into lockdown, and chief executive Alasdair Murdoch said the economic damage stemming from the crisis could ultimately force the company to permanently close up to 10% of its stores.

It was further revealed today that more than 3,000 workers expressed interest in voluntary redundancy at Rolls-Royce, after the car company announced plans in May to cut 9,000 jobs across the UK.

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