Walgreens Boots Alliance is exploring the possible closure of over 200 underperforming stores in a bid to stave off falling sales and profits.

The health and beauty group has placed the outlets under review for possible closure over the next two years, according to Sky News, as sources close to the company said a significant number of stores were likely to be closed.

The affected sites are understood to comprise primarily of stores that would be shuttered at the expiry of their leases and consolidation in towns which already have more than one Boots.

The prospective closures could include just shy of 10% of Boots’ near-2,500-strong UK store estate.

The potential move follows Walgreens Boots Alliance’s chief executive Stefano Pessina’s pledge to cut costs across the group to the tune of $1bn (£800m) over the next three years and Boots putting 350 roles at its Nottingham head office into consultation in February.

The health and beauty group slashed its earnings guidance alongside its second-quarter results last month, which it labelled the “most difficult quarter” the business had suffered since its creation in 2014.

The group’s UK division also recorded a 20% decline in full-year pre-tax profits to £398m in the year to August 31, 2018 earlier this month.

A spokesman for Boots said: “We currently do not have a major programme envisaged, but as you’d expect we always review underperforming stores and seek out opportunities for consolidation.”

The UK health and beauty retailer is undergoing an overhaul of 24 of its biggest beauty halls this year in a bid to win back relevance and improve sales in the sector.