Boots to axe 4,000 jobs - could Stevenage, Hitchin and Letchworth branches be affected?

Boots has said it expects to cut more than 4,000 jobs and close 48 of its Optician branches. Picture

Boots has said it expects to cut more than 4,000 jobs and close 48 of its Optician branches. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA - Credit: PA

The pharmacy chain Boots has confirmed thousands of jobs could be cut as part of its response to coronavirus, but could branches in our area be affected by today’s announcement?

Despite remaining open as a key service during lockdown, Boots say the lack of footfall and enforced closures of larger stores and Optician branches seriously impacted the company’s financial outlook.

Today, Boots confirmed that 4,000 jobs – 7 per cent of total work force – will be lost, alongside the closure of 48 of the company’s Optician stores.

The company have been contacted to confirm which stores are set to close – but Hitchin’s High Street, Letchworth’s Commerce Way and Stevenage’s Queen Way optician branches are all franchises and not affected.

The pharmacy giant confirmed that in the third quarter, retail sales dropped by 48 per cent for Boots UK and 72 per cent for Boots Opticians compared to last year’s figures.

Sebastian James, director at Boots UK, said: “The proposals announced today are decisive actions to accelerate our Transformation Plan, allow Boots to continue its vital role as part of the UK health system, and ensure profitable long-term growth.

“I am so very grateful to all our colleagues for their dedication during the last few challenging months.

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“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.”

The changes come as part of Boots’ Transformation Plan – which the company say will “ensure a long and healthy future for the UK’s leading pharmacy”.

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