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LloydsPharmacy’s high street demise is great for independents


LloydsPharmacy’s high street demise is great for independents

We knew LloydsPharmacy’s disappearance from our high streets was coming and when news broke last week that the final branch had been sold, it hardly qualified as an ‘exclusive’ or even ‘news’ but it still captured people’s imaginations.

When the story was posted on ICP’s X account on the same day, it quickly drew nearly 9,500 views. A post from one of my colleagues suggesting it was “the end of an era” rapidly attracted over 16,000 views.

The inevitable end of bricks-and-mortar LloydsPharmacy was poignant, not for people outside the pharmacy industry who will mostly not give a hoot, but for those who work in community pharmacy and especially those who worked for what was the UK’s second largest multiple as recently as March. For them, it was a moment of infamy frozen in time, a momentous event indelibly inscribed into the annals of UK pharmacy.

But as far as independents are concerned, it’s more significant. It’s epoch-making. With LloydsPharmacy out of the high street picture, independents have more breathing space to capture the public’s hearts and minds. There’s one less multiple to provide competition for services and we’re led to believe that many independents bought a LloydsPharmacy store during the nationwide fire sale.

According to Precision Healthcare, whose bread and butter is pharmacy market data, there are 6,225 branches belonging to independents with one to nine stores in the UK and that will swell by 200 to 300 in the next couple of months as LloydsPharmacy branch ownership data kicks in. That compares with 5,154 and 1,719 stores belonging to national multiples and regional multiples respectively.

The national picture is looking relatively healthy for independents and as other multiples struggle, hopefully we’ll see the number of independents increase again.

National Pharmacy Association’s director of membership Simon Tebbutt put it nicely when he told us: “Patients, communities, the NHS and government have always relied on a strong independent sector…even more so since the market movements involving Lloyds and Boots.”

The future is bright. The future is independent.

Neil Trainis is the editor of Independent Community Pharmacist.


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