Walgreens is cutting 504 corporate jobs, representing about 10% of the retail pharmacy giant’s corporate workforce, the company confirmed late Thursday.
The affected jobs are primarily at Walgreens locations in Deerfield and Chicago. Roles make up about 1% of the total US workforce.
“As we continue to transform our business into a consumer-focused healthcare company, we are focused on aligning our structure and streamlining our operations to best serve our patients and customers,” Walgreens said in a statement Thursday night.
Walgreens said in a statement that the affected employees are not in stores, micro-fulfillment centers or call centers. “We are grateful for the great contributions of the team members who are leaving our organization and are committed to supporting them as much as possible during this transition.”
A Walgreens spokesman said the company’s Deerfield and Chicago offices will remain open, and the company is committed to maintaining a presence in Deerfield and downtown Chicago.
The layoffs come as Walgreens grapples with a fallout from opioid use in communities and seeks to become more of a healthcare destination to compete with rivals CVS Health and Amazon.
Walgreens reported a net loss of $3 billion for the first six months of this fiscal year, driven by a $5.4 billion after-tax charge from opioid-related lawsuits and lawsuits.
Late last year, Illinois and several other states reached a $10.7 billion settlement with Walgreens and CVS after allegations that the companies contributed to the opioid epidemic by failing to properly monitor opioid dispensing at their stores. Walgreens did not admit any liability or wrongdoing as part of the settlement.
San Francisco announced last week that it reached a $230 million settlement with Walgreens after a federal judge last year found Walgreens liable for contributing to San Francisco’s opioid epidemic.
Walgreens has also worked in recent years to increase its health offerings. Walgreens has invested billions of dollars in the Chicago company VillageMD, which has primary care clinics near Walgreens stores nationwide. Walgreens said it plans to increase the number of Village Medical clinics stores up to 1000 by 2027.
Walgreens and rival CVS have been battling to strengthen their health care businesses. CVS recently completed a $10.6 billion deal buy Chicago’s Oak Street Healthwhich provides primary care to people on Medicare in centers across the country.
The Chicago Sun-Times first reported the layoffs Thursday evening.