THE future of some Boots stores in Teignbridge look uncertain as the company behind Boots the Chemist has announced it will close 300 of its branches throughout the UK over the next 12 months.

The pharmacy chain stressed there were no redundancies planned but confirmed they will shut down stores in close proximity to each other as part of plans to ‘consolidate’ the business.

There will still be 1,900 branches left across the UK from a base of 2,200.

It is not yet known which locations will be affected.

A Boots spokesperson said today, Wednesday: ‘Boots released its Q3 results yesterday and reported a very strong performance, with Retail sales up over 13% and the ninth consecutive quarter of market share growth for Boots UK.

‘The retail performance was driven by a very strong beauty performance, particularly in skincare. Healthcare also performed well, with pharmacy sales their best level in six quarters.

‘The successful Boots transformation plan has created a strong and stable platform for growth.

‘This has included our store rejuvenation programme, which will now accelerate ongoing investment into our store estate. In addition to uplifting existing stores, over the next year Boots will continue to consolidate a number of stores in close proximity to each other.

‘Evolving the store estate in this way allows Boots to concentrate its team members where they are needed and focus investment more acutely in individual stores with the ambition of consistently delivering an excellent and reliable service in a fresh and up to date environment.’

‘We aren’t releasing details of affected stores at the moment, but will share further information on planned closures over the coming months.

‘There are no proposed redundancies – all impacted team members will be offered redeployment. ‘This is part of ongoing reviews to ensure the company has the right stores and resources in the right locations – that can be invested in (significantly). It will allow Boots to concentrate resource and provide a reliable and consistently excellent service.

The 300 figure (mentioned by WBA in their earnings call) is over the next 12 months, and following this the company will still have 1,900 stores across the UK – so this is by no means Boots coming away from the High Street. It is essentially about reducing duplication in the store estate.

‘The vast majority of closing stores (more than 85%) are within 5km of another, with 82% of people within the UK remaining with a 10-minute drive of a Boots store following this.’

Boots say their in-house brands were the standout performers in the period. The launch of No7’s Future Renew range saw one product sold every two seconds on launch day and over half a million customer transactions in the first four weeks. Boots suncare range, Soltan, also delivered sales growth of 19% helped by the warm weather, while Boots’ ‘Everyday’ essentials own brand range saw 40% growth in the period.

Store information

Store footfall increased 6.9%, ahead of the national average of 2.8%

• Digital sales increased more than 25%, with transactions on up 18.8%

• Boots App grew 37.9% year on year, now with 6.2 million active users

• Positive customer response to continued value initiatives including expanded Price Advantage scheme and always on 10% discount on Boots own label

• Healthcare delivered its best performance in six quarters with sales up 5.7%.