Boots’ move to sack more than 4,000 employees heaps yet more pain on the British high street, pushing the number of declared job losses due to coronavirus and the ensuing lockdown to more than 118,000.
The pharmacy chain suffered a 48pc slump in sales this quarter due to Covid-19, with a 72pc drop in turnover at its Opticians branches. These will bear the brunt of the nearly 50 store closures.
The venerable chemist, founded in 1849 in Nottingham by John Boot, is not alone in reeling from the virus. Retail giants including John Lewis, Harrods and Topshop owner Arcadia are cutting jobs at a frightening pace.
Some argue that, like Boots, many of these companies were already in trouble. The pharmacy announced plans last year to axe 200 of its 2,465 stores and shed 350 staff at its Nottingham headquarters.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, before