Analysis: Why Boots store closures will devastate the high street

Boots London sign

When Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) warned in April that it was going to be “more aggressive” in its transformation plans, alarm bells started ringing with landlords either side of the Atlantic.

After the “most difficult quarter” since WBA’s conception five years ago, boss Stefano Pessina warned he was “accelerating the digitalisation and transformation” of the pharmaceutical titan and reviewing its store portfolio.

Although it offered no details at the time, this week Boots, a stalwart of the UK high street, was reported to be reviewing the future of more than 200 of its shops – a figure that equates to around 10% of its portfolio.

Boots insists it does not “currently” have a major store closure programme planned but admits it will “seek out opportunities for consolidation”.

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