Shock for Burnley as one of biggest high street names announces closure of 200 stores

News of up to 200 store closures by a top high street name is bleak news for Burnley
News of up to 200 store closures by a top high street name is bleak news for Burnley

News that one of the biggest health and beauty names on the high street is to close 200 stores has sent shockwaves through Burnley.

Boots retail chain has confirmed that a review programme has begun that will affect around 200 stores, and, although it has not been revealed which branches could be affected it is believed to be mainly local pharmacies.

The company has three branches in Burnley including its main store in St James Street which is a focal point for the town centre as it has been trading there for decades.

The other two are pharmacies based in Yorkshire Street, close to the culvert and Crowther Street in the Burnley Wood area/

Clitheroe also has a Boots store in the town centre's Castle Street.

The retail chain is owned by Walgreens and the review process regarding the closures has only just begun after the company revealed its profits had been hit by declining retail sales in the US and UK.

It is not clear how many jobs will be lost in the closures but Boots have promised to find new roles for staff where possible.

A spokesman for the company said: "We are committed to our colleagues and do not expect a significant impact on them as we plan to redeploy colleagues wherever possible to nearby stores."

The spokesman added: "Many of these stores are loss-making and around two-thirds of them are within walking distance of other Boots stores.

"The stores that have been identified for closure represent around eight percent of our total UK store base.

"We are being realistic about the future. We need to be agile to adapt to the changing landscape and ensure that Boots can continue to serve its patients and customers across the UK as the retail environment continues to evolve."

The company has also said it has had to change to 'meet the challenges of a wider backdrop' and its priorities were to make sure the stores and online buying offered a more differentiated and personalised service so it could offer the best brands at competitive prices.

It has recently opened two new flagship stores, one in London's Covent Garden and the second in Cornwall.

On the pharmacy side of the business it has also launched a market-leading prescription ordering app for customers.

Usdaw, the union for retail workers, called for the company to enter talks and said it was 'worrying' news for employees.

News of the proposed Boots closures comes hot on the heels of announcements that Accessorize in Burnley town centre could close down after its parent company brought in by Deloitte, a multinational professional services network, to prepare plans for a possible Company Voluntary Arrangement, the same process through which retailers New Look went through in 2018.

And earlier this year Thornton's confectioners, which traded in Burnley for several decades, closed its doors.