WBA plans to close 200 more Walgreens stores

WBA plans to close 200 more Walgreens stores

7 August 2019 - Deborah Wilkes

Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) plans to close around 200 more Walgreens stores following a review of its "real estate footprint in the US".

The news comes soon after the US-based company said it was closing around 200 Boots stores in the UK (click here to read the News story).

WBA boosted its presence in the US two years ago when it acquired around 2,000 stores from Rite Aid. The Rite Aid stores joined the company's existing chain of around 8,000 Walgreens stores in the US.

Following the acquisition, WBA said around 600 stores would be closed in the US as part of a store-optimisation programme. And in April 2019, WBA revealed another 150 stores would be closed in the US.

The latest announcement of around 200 additional store closures affects less than 3% of WBA's store base in the US. A spokesperson for Walgreens said the business had 9,560 stores in the US as of 31 August 2018.

"Given that we have multiple locations in many markets, we anticipate minimal disruption to customers and patients," commented the spokesperson. "We also anticipate being able to retain the majority of the impacted store team members in other nearby locations."

200 Boots stores to go in UK

Announcing the UK store closures in June 2019, James Kehoe, WBA's global chief financial officer, said the store-optimisation programme would "impact around 200 locations over the course of the next 18 months".

Many of the 200 stores were loss-making, commented Kehoe, and approximately two-thirds were within walking distance of another Boots store.

Kehoe pointed out the stores earmarked for closure represented around 8% of Boots UK's store base but only 1% of revenue.

He noted that WBA was also reviewing its "real estate footprint in the US", and "accelerating the pace of change, especially in its US supply chain".

Recent financial results

In the three months ended 31 May 2019, WBA reported sales of USD34.6 billion. This represented a rise of 0.7% as reported compared to the same period a year earlier. Sales were up by 2.9% at constant currencies.

The company said the rise was primarily due to growth in the Retail Pharmacy USA and Pharmaceutical Wholesale divisions.

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