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Lloydspharmacy to close or sell 190 branches across England

Lloydspharmacy’s parent company Celesio UK has announced it will cease trading in 190 “commercially unviable” branches across England.

In a statement published this afternoon (October 26), Celesio UK managing director Cormac Tobin said the organisation has made the decision due to “changes to government policy on reimbursement and retrospective clawbacks over the past two years”.

“We must respond to the dramatic reimbursement cuts over the past 24 months,” Mr Tobin said.

“Although this is a difficult day for some of our colleagues, this also presents an opportunity for us to set ourselves up for the future and build our reputation as a trusted partner of the NHS,” he added.

In a message circulated to Lloydspharmacy employees, Mr Tobin said the decision had “not been taken lightly”, but was “necessary” for the business “to adapt to the changing landscape”.

The "approximate" 190 branches will “cease trading” “through a combination of store closures and divestments”, Mr Tobin explained.

Which pharmacies will be affected?

Celesio UK told C+D that it is “engaged in an active process to try and find alternative options” for the 190 stores, “which includes divestment”.

“It’s too early to give any further details” of the branches, how many staff will be affected, or the possible timescales for closures, it said.

“We will be looking for potential buyers for the affected pharmacies. It is for whoever acquires the pharmacies to make decisions about their future,” Celesio UK added.

The organisation will “look to redeploy colleagues wherever possible”, but “where we are unable to find a solution, unfortunately colleagues may be in a redundancy situation”.

Mr Tobin also stressed that the organisation is “here to support anyone affected by these changes”.

Lloydspharmacy currently operates "around 1,500" branches across the UK, according to its website. Parent company Celesio UK bought all 281 of Sainsbury’s pharmacies for £125 million in 2015, with the handover completed in September 2016.

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