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News / Business

Walgreens embarks on another round of layoffs

By Lisa Schencker, Chicago Tribune
Published: April 17, 2024, 7:45am

Walgreens confirmed Tuesday a new round of layoffs, the latest in a string of job cuts over the past year as the retail pharmacy giant aims to slash costs.

Walgreens spokesman Fraser Engerman said the company is not disclosing the number of people it’s laying off. Most of the positions are Chicago-based, he said in a statement.

“To ensure we are operating as efficiently as possible, and to deliver on our plan to reduce costs, we have identified areas in our Corporate Support Center where we can reduce complexity and consolidate work, resulting in the elimination of some positions,” he said in the statement. “We value the contributions of impacted team members and will fully support them through this difficult time.” He said the layoffs will not affect stores.

The Deerfield-based company has been cutting jobs every few months over the last year.

In May of last year, Walgreens said it was eliminating 504 corporate jobs, representing about 10% of its corporate workforce at the time. Then, in July, Walgreens said it planned to cut 393 jobs at a southern Illinois distribution center. This January, Walgreens said it was eliminating 145 mostly corporate positions across the company, following a cut of 267 positions just months earlier.

CEO Tim Wentworth has said that Walgreens is aiming to cut $1 billion in costs this year — a goal that follows years of similar measures.

Walgreens had been working in recent years to transform into a health care destination, to compete with rivals CVS Health and Amazon, but has faced challenges along the way.

Walgreens invested billions of dollars in Chicago-based VillageMD, which has primary care clinics next to Walgreens stores across the country. Walgreens had said it planned to increase the number of Village Medical clinics by its stores to 1,000 by 2027. But Wentworth said during a March earnings call that Walgreens had recorded a $5.8 billion impairment charge during the last quarter related to VillageMD, and that VillageMD would be closing 160 clinics.