Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) will cut 267 jobs — 5% of its corporate workforce — in a move to “streamline our operations and focus on our critical priorities,” according to a Walgreens spokesperson, who noted that “none of these roles are based at our stores.” These latest cuts follow a 10% reduction in Walgreens’ corporate workforce in May 2023.
By any measure, the retailer has been having a difficult year:
- In May 2023 Walgreens agreed to a $230 billion settlement with the city of San Francisco over the retailer’s role in the opioid epidemic;
- In June 2023 Walgreens announced plans to close 150 U.S. stores and 300 Boots stores in the UK as part of cost-cutting efforts;
- Then-CEO Rosalind Brewer stepped down in September, replaced by Tim Wentworth in October; and
- WBA agreed in October 2023 to a $192.5 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit brought by shareholders claiming they were misled regarding Walgreens’ failed 2015 merger with Rite Aid.
WBA’s financial results for fiscal 2023, which ended Aug. 31, 2023, illustrate the challenges the retailer faces. Despite achieving sales of $139.1 billion, a 4.8% increase compared to the previous year, WBA had a net loss of $3.1 billion, down from net earnings of $4.3 billion during FY 2022. The decrease was driven by a $5.5 billion after-tax charge for opioid-related claims during the period.