Walgreens to close 200 stores
The closures represent about 2% of the company’s 8,232 drugstores.
Walgreens will close about 200 U.S. stores as part of an expanded cost reduction push, but the nation’s largest drugstore chain has no plans to shrink after combining with European health and beauty retailer Alliance Boots.
The Deerfield, Ill., company expects to open roughly the same number of stores and will consider more mergers and acquisitions, even as it continues to digest a nearly $16-billion deal that finalized its combination with Alliance Boots, which runs Britain’s largest pharmacy chain.
The store closings that Walgreens announced Thursday amount to only about 2% of the 8,232 drugstores the company runs in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Nevertheless, the closings are the latest example of a strategy shift for a company that was opening about 500 stores a year a decade ago. Walgreens once estimated that it was opening a new store every 17 hours on average.
Late last year, Walgreens completed its purchase of the remaining stake of Alliance Boots that it didn’t already own. The company was renamed Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.
Walgreens said it earned $2.04 billion, or $1.93 a share, up from $716 million, or 74 cents, a year earlier before the acquisition was completed.
Sales increased 35.5% to $26.6 billion.
Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance closed up $4.94, or 5.6%, to $92.62.
THE STORES Walgreens plans to close amount to only about 2% of its 8,232 drugstores in the U.S.