Walgreens to close 150 stores across the U.S. as pharmacy chain faces ’emerging challenges’

Pharmacy chain Walgreens plans to close 150 of its locations in the U.S. and 300 more in the United Kingdom.

This continues ongoing cost-saving initiatives at the company, including more than 500 corporate personnel jobs being cut, Walgreens Boots Alliance executive vice president and global chief financial officer James Kehoe said during the company’s third quarter earnings call Tuesday.

The company has not announced which locations will be closed and did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY. The closings are expected to occur before the end of Walgreens’ 2024 fiscal year in May 2024.

Store closings are just some of the company’s cost-saving measures, which come as Walgreens reported net income of $118 million, about 59% below the previous year, and failed to meet earnings expectations, based on analysts polled by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Walgreens also lowered its earning expectations for the full fiscal year. But the company expects to have saved $3.3 billion by the end of 2023 and another $800,000 in 2024, Kehoe said, according to a transcript of the earnings call from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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Lower than expected demand for COVID-19 vaccinations – 800,000 vaccinations in the quarter represented an 83% decline from a year ago – and sharp declines in COVID-19 testing contributed to the company’s performance, Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Gates Brewer said during the call.

“We had called out COVID as a wildcard heading into the quarter and have unfortunately seen less patient willingness to vaccinate,” she said.

The company is now reducing its expectations for how many COVID-19 vaccines it will distribute in the future. Additionally, Brewer said the company currently had 1,100 locations with reduced operating hours, down from 1,600 at the end of May.

The company expects to face “emerging challenges” such as lower consumer spending with the end of stimulus funds and resumption of student loan payments, Brewer said.

Walgreens stock closed Friday down about 10% since the company’s earnings announcement.

Kate Perez covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. You can reach her at kperez@gannett.com or on Twitter @katecperez_.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Walgreens closing 150 US pharmacies in cost-saving strategy

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