Boots (Nottingham, U.K.), a division of Walgreens Boots Alliance (Deerfield, Ill.), has announced it is slashing 7 percent of its workforce, which equates to more than 4000 jobs, WWD reports. This includes workers from its stores, optician teams and head office. In addition, the retailer will be closing 48 Boots Opticians locations.
The move, the company said, was in order to invest more in its online business as well as help reverse the downturn in store sales that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. While many of its stores were allowed to remain open during the lockdowns in the U.K., its footfall lowered dramatically, WWD reports, with its comp retail sales decreasing by 48 percent and 72 percent for Boots Opticians year-on-year for the third quarter.
According to WWD, Boots said: “Restrictions are beginning to lift, but with an uncertain economic outlook, it is anticipated that the high street will take considerable time to recover … [COVID-19] has also accelerated the shift by consumers towards digital channels and online shopping.”