Boots cuts 700 jobs in bid to restructure and improve tech

Cosmetics firm Boots has announced it will be cutting 700 non-store roles in an attempt to invest in technology and simplify back-office operations

Boots has announced it will increase its focus on customer needs by investing more in its technology and digital initiative, resulting in the reduction of 700 back-office staff.

The firm hopes to transform its businesses, including Boots in the UK and Ireland, as well as Boots Opticians, through improved customer engagement, simplified support operations and investment in technology.

“Boots has an incredible heritage of delivering care and support to communities across the UK for over 165 years,” said Boots president Simon Roberts.

“While we have continued to deliver a solid performance in recent years, despite challenging market conditions, we cannot be complacent, and must be stronger and more agile going forward, to meet the fast-changing expectations of our customers.”

The news comes shortly after the completion of the firm’s merger with US firm Walgreens to create the Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Boots will reduce 700 non-store staff roles through a combination of redeployment, re-training and redundancy, but highlighted that some extra focus will be needed for digital initiatives.

Through these changes, originally laid out in the cost-restructuring programme announced by the Walgreens Boots Alliance earlier in 2015, the firm aims to move its focus towards investing in areas that will drive growth and ensure it continues to be “a true omni-channel retailer”.

“We have not taken these decisions lightly and understand the impact that today’s announcement may have on our colleagues. We are fully committed to doing everything we can to support all our people as we transform Boots and strive to be even better for our customers and patients,” said Roberts.

Boots has made progress with its digital initiative over the past couple of years and in September 2014 rolled out real-time stock visibility to its stores, something that is becoming increasingly important in promoting customer loyalty. The firm also recently announced it would be accepting Apply Pay from the offset when the payment method reaches the UK in July 2015.

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