FINANCE

Walgreens to close 200 U.S. stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Walgreens Boots Alliance is reducing its footprint in the United States by about 3%.

In an SEC filing, the drug store operator said it plans to close about 200 U.S. stores, for which it expects to record related pre-tax charges of between $1.9 billion and $2.4 billion. Earlier this summer, the company announced it planned to close 200 Boots stores in the U.K. and that it was also reviewing its portfolio in the U.S., where it operates approximately 10,000 stores.

The store closures are part of the company’s previously announced “transformational cost management program,” which is  expected to deliver annual cost savings in excess of $1.5 billion by 2022.

“As previously announced, we are undertaking a transformational cost management program to accelerate the ongoing transformation of our business, enable investments in key areas and to become a more efficient enterprise,” the company said in a statement.

Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina told analysts during the company’s  recent third-quarter earnings call that the program will help drive a structural change in the company, “making us a more efficient, more agile and more responsive organization.”

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