Walgreens to close 200 U.S. stores

April 9, 2015

As part of its restructuring plan, Walgreens Boots Alliance announced April 9 that it plans to close about 200 of its less-profitable stores throughout the United States.

As part of its restructuring plan, Walgreens Boots Alliance announced April 9 that it plans to close about 200 of its less-profitable stores throughout the United States.

However, the retail giant plans to open a similar number of new stores in different locations. As a result, the closures are not expected to greatly impact Walgreens’ pharmacists or pharmacy technicians. The closures will happen within the next three years, according to Walgreens spokesperson Michael Polzin.

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“As these locations close, we’ll work with the employees who are impacted to find opportunities at other stores,” Polzin told Drug Topics. “But we don’t have any specific impacts to provide you at this time.”

According to the Associated Press, the closings would be approximately 2% of Walgreens’ 8,232 locations in the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In total, Walgreens cost-reduction program is expected to save approximately $1.5 billion by the end of 2017 by also reorganizing its corporate operations and streamlining its information technology and other functions.

Polzin said the closing will be scattered throughout the United States and that Walgreens hasn't finalized the list of stores it plans to close.

Stefano Pessina, Walgreens’ executive vice chairman and acting CEO, said he is “as optimistic as ever” about the company's future. Still, he said, Walgreens must work to address challenges such as reimbursements for medications and competition. Pessina said the company will begin evaluating whether stores should close more often than it has previously.

 

“I believe we should every year review all the stores and if every year we have to close 10 stores ... we will have to do it,” Pessina told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s better to do this gradually over time.”

This week, Walgreens announced that its second quarter earnings, $2.04 billion, exceeded Wall Street forecasts. However, its revenues for the same period, $26.57 billion, fell short of analysts' forecasts of $27.73 billion.