BOOTS is set to axe more than 4,000 jobs, as well as shut 48 of its opticians branches.
The retailer is the latest business to announce job cuts and store closures as the coronavirus crisis continues to cause havoc on the struggling UK high street.
Boots is the second high street name to announce cuts today after John Lewis revealed plans to close eight stores, putting 1,300 jobs at risk.
The retailer says its restructure will reduce the “significant impact” Covid-19 has had on its profits.
Its retail sales have tumbled by 48 per cent over the past three months, while its opticians business saw sales dive by 72 per cent compared to the same quarter last year.
The job cuts will affect around 7 per cent of the company’s workforce, and will particularly hit workers in its Nottingham support office.
It will also affect some deputy and assistant manager, beauty adviser and customer adviser roles across its stores.
Boots has 606 opticians branches in the UK, of which around 165 operate on a franchise basis.
Some are standalone opticians, while others are located inside larger Boots stores or supermarkets.
Not all Boots opticians remained open during lockdown, with the majority only taking emergency appointments.
Its health and beauty stores were allowed to keep their doors open as they were deemed “essential” by the government, largely due to the fact that they sell medicines.
However, its beauty halls and perfume counters were ordered to shut – these reopened on July 4.
The Sun has asked Boots for a list of opticians that will close and we’ll update this story when we know more.
In its statement released today, Boots said the cuts are an “acceleration” of its transformation plans to improve profitably.
This week has also seen Pret a Manger announce it will close 30 shops.
Cath Kidston and Laura Ashley have already collapsed in recent weeks due to coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Debenhams has also been forced to call in administrators for the second time in 12 months.
We’ve got a full round-up of all the shops and restaurants that have gone bust here.
It comes as the Centre for Retail Research predicts that 20,000 shops could close for good this year.
Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK, 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.”
“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.”