Retail sales in pharmacy

Sales of all products in independent pharmacies across the country are down only slightly, but there’s been a significant drop in Auckland.

Pharmacy Today reporter Angela Woods investigates



Retail sales are down by 9 per cent across independent pharmacies in Auckland on last year, according to figures from software company RPM, and its chief executive says Chemist Warehouse is the reason.


The figures show pharmacies using RPM in Auckland have had a far greater drop in retail sales numbers than the rest of the country in September, compared with the same month in 2018. Nationally, retail sales were down by 2 per cent.


August’s numbers also showed a 9 per cent decline in Auckland, and 2 per cent nationally. In May and June, when sales were up nationally, retail sales in Auckland still declined.


RPM chief executive and pharmacist John Saywell says sales figures in Auckland over the last year show a definite downward trend.


“There are a number of Auckland pharmacies which are doing worse than the trend overall and it’s the same in Christchurch with the three Bargain Chemists,” Mr Saywell says.


The RPM figures are from 100 independent pharmacies (including Unichem and Life pharmacies) around the country, around 10 per cent of all pharmacies in New Zealand.

Mr Saywell says the presence of Chemist Warehouse is the reason for the large drop in overall retail sales in Auckland.


“I just had meetings with suppliers in Auckland last week and they know, because of how much they’re supplying [Chemist Warehouse].”

Retail sales among members of the Pharmacy Co-op Retail Group, a cooperative started by Mr Saywell two and a half years ago, have risen by 5 per cent in the three months until 31 August, he says, compared with a slight fall of 4 per cent at other pharmacies.


The 35 member pharmacies, including seven Antidote pharmacies in Dunedin and Clive’s Chemist in Wainuiomata, focus on selling core products and reducing the overall amount of stock purchased.


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