UK retailers Boots and John Lewis announce up to 5,300 job cuts

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By Lauren Chadwick
FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2005 file photo, people walk past a Boots pharmacy in central London.
FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2005 file photo, people walk past a Boots pharmacy in central London.   -   Copyright  Sergio Dionisio/AP Photo, File

UK retailer Boots, known for its pharmacies, beauty retail and opticians will cut 4,000 jobs or about 7 per cent of its workforce.

Boots UK will close 48 Boots Opticians stores and will have a 20 per cent reduction in the UK support office, parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance said in a statement.

Meanwhile another High Street retailer John Lewis will close eight stores, which will affect 1,300 jobs.

The stores that will close are in Birmingham, Croydon, Heathrow, Newbury, St Pancras, Swindon, Tamworth and Watford.

The job cuts are a blow to the UK economy when just yesterday the UK's finance minister Rishi Sunak announced an up to £30 billion (€33.5 billion) plan to secure and create jobs across the country.

The plan included a new job retention scheme that will provide employers with a £1,000 bonus per employee who was furloughed and who remains employed through January 2021.

It joins the list of several companies that have had to cut jobs amid the crisis which caused the UK's economy to contract 20.4 per cent in April.

Here's a full list of companies in Europe that have major job cuts.

'Footfall dramatically reduced'

Although Boots' Pharmacies remained open during lockdown, the company said that "footfall into the stores dramatically reduced" during that period.

In April, there was an 85 per cent reduction in footfall in open stores.

Meanwhile, Boots said they had temporarily closed more than 100 stores, "mainly in high street, station and airport locations" as well as nearly all 600 Boots Opticians stores during lockdown.

"We recognise that today’s proposals will be very difficult for the remarkable people who make up the heart of our business, and we will do everything in our power to provide the fullest support during this time," said Boots UK managing director Sebastian James.