Boots is closing 300 stores over the next 12 months despite reporting “strong” 2023 retail sales.
The UK health and beauty retailer will shut shops in close proximity to each other, taking branch numbers from 2,200 to 1,900.
The vast majority of closing stores are said to be within 5km of another Boots branch.
Parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) said the move was part of a wider "transformation plan" to "consolidate" the business.
“The successful Boots transformation plan has created a strong and stable platform for growth and will accelerate further, including ongoing investment into the rejuvenation of the store estate,” said the retailer in a statement.
“In addition to uplifting existing stores, over the next year Boots will continue to consolidate a number of stores in close proximity to each other.
“Evolving the store estate in this way allows Boots to concentrate its team members where they are needed and focus investment more acutely in individual stores.
“With the ambition of consistently delivering an excellent and reliable service in a fresh and up-to-date environment.”
The affected Boots stores have not been disclosed and there are no proposed redundancies.
Affected staff will be offered another role within the company and will most likely be deployed to work in nearby branches.
Boots currently employs more than 52,000 people in the UK.
WBA confirmed that 150 Walgreen stores are also closing.
Boots No7 Future Renew range had half-a-million customer transactions within its first four weeks of sale
This news comes hot on the heels of Boots announcing strong quarterly sales – its ninth consecutive quarter of market share growth.
The beauty giant’s retail sales soared 13.4% in the three months to the end of May 2023, compared with the same period last year.
The increase was driven up by a boost in online shoppers, with sales on its digital platform up 25.2% year-on-year.
The growth was also bolstered by own-brand sales, with the retailer’s Everyday essentials label – where products are sold for £1.50 or less – reporting volume growth of 40%.
Beauty was the strongest performing category with sales up over 18% year-on-year.
The launch of No7’s Future Renew range in April saw one product from the collection sold every two seconds on launch day.
The range had more than half-a-million customer transactions within its first four weeks of sale.
“Our focus on offering our customers the best in healthcare and beauty, together with a continued commitment to great value, has been well received,” commented Seb James, MD of Boots in the UK and Ireland.
“It is particularly pleasing to see our owned brands proving popular, including an exceptional No7 performance,”
The turnover was also fuelled by high sales of sunscreen during the UK’s hot spell.
Sales of the retailer’s own-brand suncare range Soltan soared 19%.
The group’s pharmacy arm also saw sales grow by 5.7%, driven by hay fever products and over-the-counter medication.
Boots is not the only beauty company that is making big changes to its operations this year during the economic uncertainty.
Ren Clean Skincare has slashed its portfolio by a third as part of a new strategy, while Avon is reducing its sub brands from 130 to 30 as part of a bold rebrand.