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Boots store closures in Kent: 200 nationwide set to go within 18 months

Another major high street chain has confirmed it is to close 200 stores nationwide.

Boots had warned last month it was conducting a review of branches in a bid to close under-performing outlets.

With that review now complete, the closure programme is set to take place over the next 18 months - impacting on around 8% of the chain's UK stores.

Boots has been a regular on our high streets for decades - but is about to embark of a major store closure programme
Boots has been a regular on our high streets for decades - but is about to embark of a major store closure programme

The chain, owned by American firm Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), has stores in most of Kent's town centres.

Details of which stores will close have yet to be confirmed.

Sebastian James, managing director of Boots UK, said: "WBA has now approved an outline plan to consolidate around 200, principally local pharmacy, stores where we have a large number within close proximity.

Boots in Canterbury's Whitefriars. Locations of stores to close have yet to be announced
Boots in Canterbury's Whitefriars. Locations of stores to close have yet to be announced

"We believe this is the right thing to do as it means that we can invest more in staffing those stores while not reducing our 90% coverage within a 10-minute drive of a Boots.

"We do not anticipate a significant effect from this activity to colleagues as we will redeploy the overwhelming majority to neighbouring stores.

"At the same time, we continue to open new stores where we believe there are communities that would benefit from a new Boots."

The Boots branch at Fremlin Walk in Maidstone
The Boots branch at Fremlin Walk in Maidstone

It is believed the bulk of those stores ear-marked for closure are loss-making and two-thirds will be within walking distance of other branches.

Mr James added: "There’s no doubt that trading conditions are tough on the high street and healthcare and retail are facing a challenging reality.

"Boots is not immune to these pressures, however we have a remarkable brand and I am continually amazed by the extraordinary deep love and respect people have for Boots.

"There’s no doubt that trading conditions are tough on the high street and healthcare and retail are facing a challenging reality..." - Sebastian James, Boots UK

"We’re still a very successful company with a phenomenal presence in the UK but we need to take some tough decisions to transform the fundamentals of our business, building on our 170-year legacy, to ensure our future growth.”

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