Alliance Boots is to axe around 900 non-store based roles in the UK in a bid to reduce operating costs by around £56m a year by 2013/14.

The health and beauty giant said the 900 roles represents under 10% of the UK non-store workforce. Where possible, the reduction will be achieved through staff turnover and offering redeployments within the group. The roles are in support functions, with around 750 in Nottingham and Feltham, and a further 150 in the Boots contract manufacturing site, also in Nottingham.

Alliance Boots said the programme means it will be able to move to a leaner central support organisation, supported by new systems, a streamlining of manufacturing operations and optimisation of supply chain activities. It does not affect the employee base in the UK stores.

Alex Gourlay, chief executive of the health & beauty division, Alliance Boots, said: “Since 2007 we have undertaken a number of steps to make our business more robust, investing significantly in our stores and commercial offering. This latest phase will enable us to have a stronger and more agile support infrastructure fit for the long-term future.

“Our intention is to be open and transparent about how we see the future, but we understand the impact that today’s announcement may have on our people. The leadership team is fully committed to supporting them in the months ahead as we further evolve our organisation.”

Related exceptional charges are expected to total around £67 million.