Boots Opticians, the U.K. optical retailer owned jointly by U.S. pharmacy chain Walgreens Boots Alliance and Italian eyewear producer De Rigo, is closing 48 stores and laying off staff as part of a wider restructuring at Boots UK accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The majority of Boots Opticians stores were closed during the Covid-19 lockdown in the U.K., although opticians were allowed to remain open for emergency and urgent care. Boots Opticians’ comparable sales for the third quarter ended on May 31 slumped by 72 percent year-on-year, while Boots UK saw same store revenue decline by 48 percent during the period.
Boots UK has started a consultation process for the restructuring, which also envisages over 4,000 job cuts, across its head office, store teams and Boots Opticians. While lockdown restrictions are being lifted in the U.K., the group notes that the economic outlook remains uncertain and consumers shifted increasingly to online shopping channels during the health crisis.