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/ Source: TODAY
By Kerry Breen

Walgreens is planning to close 200 stores across the United States, the brand announced Monday.

While the pharmacy chain has not yet announced which locations will be shuttering, the closures represent less than 3% of the more than 10,000 Walgreens stores in the U.S., according to the brand.

"Given that we have multiple locations in many markets, we anticipate minimal disruption to customers and patients," Jim Cohn, senior director for corporate media relations, told TODAY. "We also anticipate being able to retain the majority of the impacted store team members in other nearby locations."

The closures were announced in an SEC filing on Aug. 5, and come as the parent company is paring back locations in the United Kingdom.

Walgreens had a similar round of closures in 2015 when another 200 stores were closed. In 2018, the chain's parent company, the Walgreens Boots Alliance, bought 1,932 Rite Aid locations. Since then, 631 of those locations have been closed and another 119 are expected to be shut down, according to CNBC.

"We’re 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," said Cohn. "The planned closure approximately 200 stores in the U.S. are a part of that effort."

Walgreens isn't the only drugstore chain downsizing. In May, CVS Pharmacy said that it would close 46 underperforming stores; in June, the chain's head of retail said that unprofitable stores will be closed as the chain evaluates the 500 leases that come up for renewal every year. CVS is also reducing the amount of new stores opening annually — typically, the chain opens 300 stores a year, but CVS president Kevin Hourican said they would only open about 100 stores this year and 50 next year, according to CNBC.

Retailers across the country are likely to close more stores than ever this year. The all-time record of store closings was in 2017 with 8,139 stores. In 2019, more than 7,000 stores have already closed, according to CNBC — but it's only June.

Major retailers who have announced closings include Topshop, which will close all of its U.S. locations, Party City, which will close 45 locations, and Gap, which will shutter more than 230 stores over the next two years. Shopping staples like Bath and Body Works and Victoria's Secret are also downsizing. Popular retailers like Payless and Dressbarn have filed for bankruptcy and will be closing all of their stores.