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Asda says pharmacies ‘remain important’ as it plans Sainsbury’s merger

Asda store
Asda: This is just the beginning of the merger process

Asda says its 255 pharmacies “remain an important part” of its offering, as the supermarket prepares for a proposed merger with Sainsbury’s.

Sainsbury’s announced last Saturday (April 28) that it has “agreed terms in relation to a proposed combination of Sainsbury's and Asda Group Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Walmart, to create an enlarged business”.

“Our pharmacy offer remains important”

Asked by C+D if this means Asda will follow Sainsbury's lead and sell off its pharmacy business, Asda said this morning that if the merger went ahead, it “will continue to operate as Asda – and our pharmacy offer remains an important part of our customer offer”.

The merger will require approval by the Competition and Markets Authority watchdog, Asda added, “so this is the beginning of a process – nothing will change day-to-day”.

Sainsbury’s sold its 281 pharmacies to Lloydspharmacy for £125 million in 2016. C+D is aware of two of these pharmacies that have since been earmarked for closure as part of the multiple’s decision last year to divest 190 “commercially unviable” branches.

Views on the merger

Asda president and CEO Roger Burnley said the merger “will be great news for Asda customers, allowing us to deliver even lower prices in store and even greater choice”.

“Asda will continue to be Asda, but by coming together with Sainsbury's, supported by Walmart, we can further accelerate our existing strategy and make our offer even more compelling and competitive.”

Sainsbury’s said the combined business will “create a dynamic new player in UK retail, with an outstanding breadth of products, delivered through multiple channels”.

The resulting “complementary network” of more than 2,800 Sainsbury's, Asda and Argos – which the supermarket bought in 2016 – stores, along with “several of the UK’s most visited retail websites”, will oversee a combined 47 million customer transactions per week.

“The retail sector is going through significant and rapid change, as customer shopping habits continue to evolve. Bringing Sainsbury's and Asda together will result in a more competitive and more resilient business that will be better able to invest in price, quality, range and the technology to create more flexible ways for customers to shop.”

What do you think about the supermarkets' merger?

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

I think the bottom line speaks here - are the Asda Pharmacies making enough or would Sainsda rake in more by renting the space out to another pharmacy chain like Lloydspharmacy?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I prefer Ainsburys. They should Ainsley Harriot as the face of their new branding. You're welcome.

A England, Manager

Telling the truth about their plans would be like the CEOs revealing their cards. A merger is going to earn those blood suckers mega mega bonuses..... If prices go down further when the quality of most of what you find on their supermarket shelves is not fit for animal consumption, will it affect quality too! Sainsburys's Mikey Boy is already singing all the way to the bank.... Probably not to Sainsburys Bank though...."We're in the money.... It's sunny.... Let's spend it... Lend it"

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

Yes not nice for the department managers losing their jobs next month!

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I think it would not be unfair to say a majority of us are expecting an announcement of closures soon afterward.

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

That’s what Sainsbury's said to the Sainsburys pharmacies and then flogged them to Lloyds . Pinch of salt required.


Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

This may explain why Sainburys sold their pharmacies in the first place - avoids the potential issue of reduction in patient choice and referral to MMC.

Phillippe Togers, Academic pharmacist

If ASDA sell their pharmacies to a scumbag blood-sucking off-shore company, then UK pharmacy staff will need to revisit and update their CVs.
Patients should be prepared for a new level of service. I would advise stockpiling your meds where possible.

David Moore, Locum pharmacist

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