Source Pravda.Ru

United Kingdom pharmacy chain Boots says it plans to cut up to 2.250 jobs as part of warehouse overhaul

British pharmacy chain Boots Group PLC said Tuesday it will cut up to 2,250 jobs at its warehouses as it prepares to combine with Alliance UniChem PLC this year.

Boots said it would invest a total of 250 million pounds (US$430 million; 360 million euros) in improving its supply chain, including the creation of a new automated warehouse in central England , and services in some 700 of its smaller stores.

Chief Executive Richard Baker said the move was a "major step forward in our plans to build a better Boots."

Boots, which has 1,400 stores across Britain , is facing stiff competition from supermarket sales of medicines and toiletries.

Its merger with Alliance UniChem, which operates 1,200 stores in Britain , Norway , the Netherlands and Italy , will create a company with a market value of more than 7 billion pounds (10.1 billion euros; US$12.1 billion).

Boots said it will fund the supply chain changes and store revamps with proceeds from the 1.9 billion pound sale of its Healthcare International drugs division to household products firm Reckitt Benckiser PLC last year.

Boots said a three-year implementation period meant it would be able to minimize the number of redundancies through normal staff turnover. It will also seek to redeploy staff to reduce the jobs impact.

Shares in Boots were up 1.5 percent at 724 pence (US$12.56; 10.47 euros) on the London Stock Exchange, reports the AP.

D.M.