New group supports independent pharmacies
A newly formed co-operative retail group says it will improve the profitability of independently owned retail pharmacies throughout New Zealand.
The Pharmacy Co-op was started two years ago by pharmacist and retail consultant John Saywell of RPM Retail in response to a number of his pharmacy clients who wanted to run the retail side of their pharmacies more professionally.
The Antidote Group of seven Dunedin pharmacies owned by Chin Loh and Lorealle Lam were foundation members of The Pharmacy Co-op who wanted to improve their retail buying, merchandising and marketing systems when they left Unichem and developed their own independent pharmacy brand in 2016.
Since then The Pharmacy Co-op group has grown to 25 pharmacies throughout NZ, all of who have implemented retail planograms and instore signage on a core range of best-selling products identified by Saywell and his RPM Retail consulting team.
The Pharmacy Co-op members use the RPM software to automatically generate 2-weekly orders on the core range which are sent to their co-operative pharmacy wholesaler (CDC or PWL) to receive higher discounts negotiated with key suppliers.
The Pharmacy Co-op’s support office is run by Auckland-based Composite Retail Cooperative, a fully member-owned co-operative which has existed for over 50 years and supports better buying from suppliers for its 200 independent retail members in five other divisions (gifts, furniture, flooring, fashion and footwear).
Composite Retail CEO Ian Caulfield says the expansion into pharmacy is an exciting move for his co-operative. “We already provide a successful platform for our members to purchase over $30 million of products from suppliers in NZ and overseas” he says. “Our members are successful small businesses serving their local communities, and we provide them with the buying power and systems support to compete with the bigger corporate retailers”.
Former CDC Pharmaceuticals CEO and long-time supporter of the pharmacy industry Roy Clements is on the Composite Retail board as an independent director. “Our vision is to be the heartbeat of independent retailers throughout New Zealand and we do this by better sourcing and supplying arrangements for members throughout the year” says Clements.
The Pharmacy Co-op has partnerships with five leading suppliers for permanent buying discounts for its members, and is in discussions with a further 10 suppliers.
“Getting key OTC suppliers such as Douglas, RB and Go Healthy on board has taken longer than we anticipated” says Caulfield. “But now that we are showing these first suppliers that our members are working openly and transparently with them for mutual benefit, we are getting real traction.”
The Pharmacy Co-op plans to grow to over 100 pharmacies making it an important player in New Zealand’s pharmacy scene.
For more information: Ian Caulfield, CEO Composite Retail Co-operative
firstname.lastname@example.org Ph 09 9186473
John Saywell, CEO RPM Retail
email@example.com Ph 03 3777616