Retail chemist Boots to axe 700 jobs

Boots is to cut around 700 non-store-based jobs as part of a shake-up of the business.

Boots is to cut around 700 non-store-based jobs as part of a shake-up of the business. - Credit: PA

Retail giant Boots is to axe 700 jobs as it bids to simplify its structure across its non-store roles.

Boots said it would begin talks with affected staff in due course, adding that it would be putting additional resources into its digital unit.

Boots president Simon Roberts said: “Together with my leadership team, I believe this plan will make Boots even better for our customers and drive sustainable future growth.”

The shake-up comes months after the £9billion mega-merger between Alliance Boots, which included the UK retail chain, and United States pharmacy group Walgreens.

About half of the cuts will fall at Boots’ head office in Nottingham, and will include support and administrative staff. Besides 4.000 HQ staff, Boots employs 60,000 people in the UK across nearly 2,500 stores.

It said that it expected to achieve the cuts through a mixture of natural attrition, redeployment, retraining and redundancies.

Mr Roberts said: “We also remain fully committed to our presence in Nottingham, which has been the home of Boots since the very beginning.

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“We have not taken these decisions lightly, and understand the impact that today’s announcement may have on our colleagues.”

It was announced last August that Walgreens would take full control of Alliance Boots involving a cash and shares deal to swallow up the 55% of the company it did not already own. The deal completed in December.

The new group, Walgreens Boots Alliance, is based in Chicago but the headquarters of Boots remains in Nottingham, where its founder, John Boot, first opened a herbalist shop in 1849.

Walgreens has said a programme of cost-cutting would target 1.5 billion dollars (£981 million) of savings by 2017.