Pharmacy teams are expected to be protected from a restructure of Boots UK which is due to cut 4,000 jobs from the company, after retail sales fell by almost half during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company says it experienced a significant reduction in footfall in recent months – down 85 per cent in April – in Boots stores that remained open during the crisis. It temporarily closed more than 100 stores, mainly in high street, station and airport locations, along with most of the 600 Boots Opticians stores.

‘While most Boots stores remained open throughout the UK lockdown to provide communities with pharmacy and essential healthcare, our largest premium beauty and fragrance counters were effectively closed,’ said a statement. 

‘We do not expect the proposals to impact our pharmacists or pharmacy advisors,’ said the company.

Actions in the ‘Boots Transformation Plan’ includes a reorganisation of the Boots store employee structure, the closure of 48 Boots Opticians stores and an additional 20 percent headcount reduction in the UK support office.

The restructure will help ‘ensure a long-term and healthy future for the UK’s leading pharmacy, health and beauty business,’ said Walgreens Boots Alliance. 

The company plans to drive future growth in the UK market, it said. 

Announcing financial results for the third quarter, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO Stefano Pessina said the pandemic had affected the business worldwide. 

‘Prior to the pandemic our financial performance for fiscal 2020 was on track with our expectations. However, this unprecedented global crisis led to a loss in the quarter as stay-at-home orders affected all of our markets. I’m very proud of how all of our teams mobilised and adapted to deliver essential services in our communities across the world.’

The news comes after LloydsPharmacy has also announced job losses and a restructure this week.