BOOTS has confirmed that a store closure programme will affect around 200 locations, primarily local pharmacies.
The retail chain said its owner, Walgreens Boots Alliance, has now approved a plan which will see primarily local pharmacy branches shut down in locations where there are other stores nearby.
Boots has stores in Cosham High Street, Commercial Road and London Road in Portsmouth as well as in Gosport, Fareham, Havant and Waterlooville.
Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK and Ireland, said: ‘We believe this is the right thing to do as it means that we can invest more in staffing those stores while not reducing our 90 per cent coverage within a 10-minute drive of a Boots.
‘We do not anticipate a significant effect from this activity to colleagues as we will redeploy the overwhelming majority to neighbouring stores.’
The closure of 200 Boots stores is the latest blow to the high street, with Debenhams and John Lewis among the major retailers closing sites in Portsmouth over the coming year.
The changes are part of wide-ranging cost reduction plans by Walgreens, which on Thursday revealed its profits had been hit by declining retail sales in the US and UK.
Usdaw, the union for retail workers, called for the company to enter talks and said it was ‘worrying’ news for employees.
National officer Daniel Adams said: ‘We urge the company to engage with Usdaw as the trade union for Boots retail staff to ensure that all avenues to minimise job losses are explored during this critical time.
‘This issue is not confined to Boots; our high streets are in crisis and we need the Government to adopt a clear and coherent strategy for retail, to address the worries and concerns of shop workers and our members.’
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