Walgreens will close about 200 stores in the U.S., following an earlier decision by parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., to shut about 200 U.K. stores.
The closures are part of an earlier announced plan to trim $1.6 billion in costs, the company said in a note filed with the SEC. The drugstore chain owns about 9,500 stores across all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Thus the stores to be closed represent about 2 percent of its total.
“As previously announced, we are undertaking a transformational cost-management program to accelerate the ongoing transformation of our business [and] enable investments in key areas, and to become a more efficient enterprise," said a company spokesman. "As part of this effort, we plan to close approximately 200 stores in the U.S. Given that these closures will represent less than 3 percent of our stores overall, and given that we have multiple locations in many markets, we anticipate minimal disruption to customers and patients. We also anticipate being able to retain the majority of the impacted store team members in other nearby locations.”
The company cautioned in June that it will be closing unprofitable stores as it evaluates the roughly 500 leases that come up for renewal each year. Last year Walgreens Boots Alliance acquired nearly 2,000 Rite Aid stores, of which it has since closed roughly 600, with an additional 200 headed for closure, CNBC reports.
Meanwhile, CVS Health announced Wednesday that it would slow the pace of its annual store expansions, opening about 100 stores this year and roughly 50 next year, according to CNBC. Up to now, the company has rolled out stores at a rate of about 300 per year.
By Edmund Mander