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Walgreens is Closing 200 Stores Across United States, Here’s Why

Inversk Review

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United States’ 2nd largest drug stores brand, Walgreen, is closing about 3% of its more than 10,000 stores across the U.S. The company announced on Monday.

The company has not yet announced which locations it will be shuttering.

“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 the local media, TODAY. “We also anticipate being able to retain the majority of the impacted store team members in other nearby locations.” he added.

The closure is the latest move by the brand which recently an announced shutdown of 200 stores in the U.K. According to CNBC, Walgreens closed another 20 stores in 2015. Additionally 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.

By closing the stores, the brand is hoping to save $1.5 billion in annual expenses by fiscal 2022 in what it’s calling the “transformational cost management program.” Walgreens expects to record a $1.9 billion to $2.4 billion earnings hit related to real estate, severance and other costs, it said in a regulatory filing.

“As previously announced, we are 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,” the company said in a statement.

Disruption among customers and patients where they are shopping more online and less in stores have resulted to pharmacies in the U.S to close thousands of stores.

Reports by local media indicate that 8,139 stores were closed in 2017 while more than 7,000 stores have already closed in 2019.

TODAY reports that major retailers have announced closings including 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, Victoria’s Secret, and Abercrombie & Fitch are also downsizing. Popular retailers like Payless and Dressbarn have filed for bankruptcy and will be closing all of their stores.

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Companies

WeWork to lay off 4,000 Workers in a Bid to Achieve Financial Stability After Failed IPO

Georgina Korir

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At least 4,000 people are set to be laid off work by WeWork from its workforce, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

WeWork is expected to announce the cuts as early as this week as it is recovering from major losses after a failed IPO in September this according to The Times.

The Times was told by a person with knowledge of the matter that the company’s core office-sharing business would slash 2,000 to 2,500 employees from its global ventures. The source added that around 1,000 employees from noncore businesses will exit the embattled real estate startup and 1,000 maintenance workers will be transferred to an outside contractor.

According to The Times, this exodus represents roughly a third of the company’s 12,500 employees. A second source with knowledge of the matter said the number of layoffs could be as high as 5,000 or 6,000.

The sources said, the announcement will be part of the company’s five-year plan to completely overhaul the business recovering from the brink of bankruptcy. They added, the announcement could be presented to staff as early as Tuesday.

A spokesperson for WeWork declined to comment on the report.

WeWork received a $10 billion bailout which took control of the company in October after it failed to go public from Japanese investment firm Softbank. Softbank also gave CEO and cofounder Adam Neumann $1.7 billion to step down from his position as chairman of the board at WeWork.

WeWork said it lost $1.25 billion in the third quarter last week.

While injecting money into WeWork, Softbank also took a massive hit in the July to September period losing a record $6.46 billion.

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Banks

Co-Op Bank Profit Grows to Ksh 10.9B in Nine Months

Georgina Korir

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Cooperative Bank Group has reported a Ksh.10.9 billion profit for the third quarter in 2019 representing a 5.8 percent jump in earnings by the lender to the close of September.

The lender which is the third largest by assets in the region, said the growth was driven by its “soaring eagle” transformative agenda that has retooled and equipped the business with added competitive advantage.

The increased issuance of digital loans which serve to raise income derived from fees and commissions have played a major role in the growth in earnings by the bank. Digital loan issuance on MCo-op Cash is rising ahead of the bank’s traditional loan book to Ksh.27.6 billion as the lender’s non-funded income has surged forward by 33 percent to Ksh.14.1 billion

The group’s total operating income grew by 9% from KSh 32.3 billion to KSh 35.2 billion while its total assets grew 9% to KSh 440.8 billion compared to Ksh 404.2 billion in the same period last year.

Nevertheless, Co-op retained its likeness for the Treasury, a departure from observed exits by peers, to increase its investments in the portfolio by a further 13 percent to Ksh.94.6 billion from Ksh.83.2 billion last year.

In spite of the prolific growth of both net loans and advances to customers and deposits, Co-op’s net interest earnings slightly tumbled. While the lender has grown its neighborhood-based banking agents to 16,000, 90 percent of the bank’s customer transactions already sit outside branches.

As gross non-performing loans (NPLs) rose to Ksh.30 billion from Ksh.29 billion, the lender’s operating expenses picked up by a notable 11 percent on the back of higher loan loss provisions

The bank expects to keep by the diversification tune to strengthen its dominance on its core market segment encompassing retail banking and the cooperative movement.

Co-op Group Managing Director Gideon Muriuki reported that “the group continues to leverage on the benefits of the transformation agenda which has re-tooled and equipped the business with added competitive edge as reflected in the sustained growth in market share across all market segments.”

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Companies

Mumias Sugar Company Sacks All Employees Following the Receivership by KCB

Georgina Korir

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Just a month after the Mumias sugar company was placed under receivership by the Kenya Commercial Bank; all the employees working at the company have been sacked.

The company was placed under receivership by KCB owing to the numerous debts which the it owed the bank dating back to 1972. The company had borrowed Ksh10 million as loan from KCB and it took more between 1972 and 2014 which amounted to more than Ksh3 billion all together.

“Consequent to the company being placed in receivership, all employees’ contracts stand terminated from the date of receivership i.e. 20th September, 2019.” This, the company said in a letter dated November 5, 2019. The Mumias Sugar Company however said that all affected employees would be lawfully compensated.

“Any payment to the affected employees shall be dealt with in accordance with the provision of the law,” the letter read in part. New staff will be hired so as to keep the company operational and most of the priority will be given to the now former employees who have just been fired.

“Accordingly, the Receiver shall engage the services of any employee on a temporary basis on mutually agreeable terms until the time when the operations resume. Priority will however be given to the past employees while recruiting the staff on temporary basis until the time when the company’s operations are revived,” ended the letter.

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