Boots UK

Boots is 'complacent'

Boots recently began selling singer Rihanna's beauty brand Fenty
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Boots recently began selling singer Rihanna's beauty brand Fenty but one analyst claims the retailer is being outflanked by more 'agile' firms

Patrick O'Brien, UK research director at GlobalData Retail, says that Boots is a "very complacent-looking retailer" which is facing issues on a number of fronts.

He says that on pricing it "can't compete with those discounters".

"Then in the more excitable, more fashion driven areas such as cosmetics and skincare, it is getting outflanked by much more agile and exciting brands."

Boots market share shrinks

Cult Beauty
Cult Beauty
Cult Beauty is an online competitor to Boots

The competition is coming from all sides for Boots, which is reportedly looking at closing 200 stores in the UK.

But the pressure has been there for some time, according to Patrick O'Brien, UK research director at GlobalData Retail.

"It is number one for health and beauty in the UK," he says. "But its market share 10 years ago was 23% and it is down to 19% and it really has been a really gradual decline over a long period."

He says: "The grocers have been losing market share over the last five years. The ones who are really taking it are the discounters, companies like Savers, Home Bargains, B&M, Aldi.

"But they are also losing out to upcoming online brands like Feel Unique and Cult Beauty, Look Fantastic and, of course, Amazon."

Business rates bite Boots

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

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Boots has become the latest High Street retailer to announce it is closing shops.

Panmure Gordon's chief economist Simon French says this is a review of Boots' property portfolio "in terms of footfall and the costliest of the estate in terms of business rates".

He tells the Today programme: "The owner, Walgreens Boots Alliance, its share price is down about 40% over the course of the last six months and therefore, under pressure for cost-cutting, they have already announced potentially $1bn of cost cutting - this is the programme that will contribute to the bottom line."

Boots 'always review underperforming stores'


Here's a statement from a Boots UK spokesperson about the report it is planning store closures.

“We currently do not have a major programme envisaged, but as you'd expect we always review underperforming stores and seek out opportunities for consolidation.

"As is natural with a business of our size, we have stores opening, closing and relocating on a regular basis, but we have had around 2,500 stores open for several years now.

"In fact we’re investing in our stores – last year, we completed a huge merchandising project to update our self-selection cosmetics areas in 2,200 of our stores.

"We have recently announced the planned opening of a new flagship store in Covent Garden, London and the reinvention of our beauty business in 24 stores across the UK.

"We are being realistic about the future and that we will need to be agile to adapt to the changing landscape.”

Boots 'explores closure' of hundreds of stores

boots store with people walking past
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Sky News is reporting that Walgreens Boots Alliance is exploring the closure of hundreds of shops.

It reports that more than 200 outlets are under review for possible closure during the next two years. It quotes sources close to the company saying that decisions have yet to be made about the stores under scrutiny, but acknowledging that a significant number were likely to be shut.

That comes after Walgreens Boots Alliance said in April it would take "decisive steps" to reduce costs as part of a company-wide "significant restructuring".

Boots customers 'baffled' by plastic prescription bags

plastic bag

"Livid" and "baffled" customers have been complaining to Boots after receiving their prescriptions in plastic bags rather than paper ones.

One was so incensed she took her bag back to the store with "shame on you!" and "paper, not plastic!" written in capitals in black marker pen.

Boots said it was using plastic bags because some prescriptions are now assembled at a central location, rather than in local pharmacies.

Plastic was "more durable", Boots said.

Read on.