14 March 2006

Boots to close Belfast warehouse


Boots will lay off its Belfast warehouse staff

High Street retailer Boots has said the entire staff at its warehouse in Belfast are to lose their jobs.

The move is part of a plan by the company to cut up to 2,250 jobs from its supply chain operations over the next three years.

There are 50 people employed at the Belfast warehouse, 10 of them on a part-time basis.

A new automated warehouse in Nottingham will let Boots replace 17 older sites with smaller lorry-docking facilities.

Spokesman Donal McCabe said the job losses in Belfast were regrettable, but necessary.

'Minimise impact'

"We're telling people early so they can know what the future looks like, so that they can make their own decisions, come to terms with it and decide how they want to handle it," he said.

"But what we will be doing is sitting down with those people talking to them and we will try to minimise the impact as much as we can.

"Obviously we can't make any assurances at this time but we will look to re-deploy, re-employ and re-skill people."

Boots is currently in the process of merging with drugs distributor and retailer Alliance UniChem, a deal which is set to be completed later this year.

Boots said that the three-year timescale for the changes to its supply chain meant that there was a good opportunity to minimise redundancies through natural wastage.

The retailer is to invest £250m on its supply chain - including £70m on the new warehouse in Nottingham - and on revamping 700 of its smaller stores.

The investment has been funded by the proceeds from the sale of Boots' drugmaking business - Boots Healthcare International - last year.

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