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Walgreens is eliminating 504 corporate jobs

Walgreens is eliminating 504 corporate jobs, representing about 10% of the retail pharmacy giant’s corporate workforce, the company confirmed late Thursday.

The affected jobs are mostly at Walgreens’ Deerfield and Chicago offices. The roles represent about 1% of its overall U.S. workforce.

“As we continue to transform our business into a consumer-centric health care 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.

The affected employees are not based in stores, microfulfillment centers or call centers, Walgreens said in the statement. “We’re grateful for the many contributions by the team members who will be leaving our organization, and are committed to supporting them as much as possible during this transition.”

The company’s Deerfield and Chicago offices will remain open, and the company is committed to a continued presence in Deerfield and its downtown Chicago location, a Walgreens spokesman said.

The layoffs come as Walgreens deals with fallout from opioid-related settlements, and as it strives to become more of a health care destination, in order to compete with rivals CVS Health and Amazon.

Walgreens reported a net loss of $3 billion in the first six months of this fiscal year driven by a $5.4 billion after-tax charge for opioid-related claims and litigation.

Late last year, Illinois and a number of other states reached a $10.7 billion settlement agreement with Walgreens and CVS, after allegations that the companies contributed to the opioid epidemic by failing to appropriately oversee dispensing of opioids at their stores. Walgreens did not admit to any liability or wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

Last week, San Francisco announced it had reached a $230 million settlement with Walgreens, after a federal judge last year found Walgreens liable for contributing to the opioid epidemic in San Francisco.

Walgreens has also been working in recent years to increase its health care offerings. Walgreens has invested billions of dollars in Chicago-based VillageMD, which has primary care clinics next to Walgreens stores across the country. Walgreens said it plans to increase the number of Village Medical clinics by its stores to 1,000 by 2027.

Walgreens and competitor CVS have been in a race to beef up their health care businesses. CVS recently closed a $10.6 billion deal to buy Chicago-based Oak Street Health, which provides primary care to people on Medicare at centers across the country.

The Chicago Sun-Times first reported news of the layoffs Thursday evening.

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