Boots has confirmed plans to close 200 of its UK branches over the next 18 months.

The closures are part of the multiple’s ‘wider cost transformation programme’, a spokesperson told The Pharmacist, which also involves a new ‘store of the future’ which opened in London yesterday.

The announcement comes a month after reports of possible closures first emerged. Boots parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance’s (WBA) confirmed yesterday (June 27) that recent quarterly sales at the pharmacy multiple fell by 1 per cent compared with the previous year.

Two-thirds of the stores are within walking distance of another Boots branch and employees affected by the closures will be relocated within the business, the multiple said.


‘Store of the future’


Meanwhile, the 28,524 square foot new branch, which opened in Covent Garden yesterday, includes a ‘new look pharmacy’, and offers an express pick-up lane for prescriptions and a prescription collection locker.

The lockers, also offered in two other stores in Manchester and Thornaby-on-Tees, contain 162 collection slots from which patients can collect their prescription after ordering their medicines online.

The new pharmacy will also offer a new skin scanning service as well as Boots’ urinary tract infection (UTI) ‘test and treat’ service which launched in January.

Boots UK managing director Sebastian James said: ‘Our new Covent Garden store starts a journey of reinventing Boots for the future.

‘We will learn what people love and want from this shop and this will help us shape a blueprint for our whole 2,500 store estate.’

This week, a new Boots store also opened at Kingsley Village retail part in Penhale, Cornwall.

The multiple also launched its repeat prescription ordering app earlier this year, which provides free delivery to patients’ homes or collection from one of its stores.