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Bestway unveils Co-op rebrand

Well CEO John Nuttall says Bestway's "major investment" will create more jobs

The Co-operative Pharmacy will operate under the name Well as part of a £200 million investment in the chain, says new owner

Co-operative Pharmacy owner Bestway has relaunched its 780 branches under the brand name 'Well', it announced today (February 10). 

The rebrand "kickstarted" a five-year expansion strategy in which £200 million would be invested in the business, said Bestway, which bought the pharmacy chain for £620 million in October.

The planned annual investment of £40m over the next five years would fund a recruitment drive of "hundreds of employees across all areas of the UK", Bestway said. The company also reaffirmed its plans to expand its portfolio of pharmacies, and revealed that it would use its investment to "renovate and relocate" existing branches and establish a wholesale pharmacy business.

Bestway predicted that rising population size and life expectancy would allow it to increase customer numbers and raise revenue from £750m to £1bn over the next four years.

It would also invest £1.6m into establishing a Manchester headquarters for Well later this year, it added. This will involve relocating 227 of its head office workers across the city from the Co-operative Group's offices in One Angel Square to the Merchants Warehouse building in the Castlefield district.

Well CEO John Nuttall said Bestway’s “major investment” in the business would create new jobs and develop the role of pharmacy teams.

“It will enable the business to provide personalised healthcare and deliver an excellent patient experience, improving health and reducing inequalities in local communities,” Mr Nuttall said.

He told C+D that the first Well stores would go live in the middle of March and the rebranding programme would be complete by the end of September. 

Bestway CEO Zameer Choudrey said the company was confident in the new branding and “had no doubt that it has a bright future ahead”.

"We are very pleased to begin rolling out the next chapter of this fantastic business's story. We have pledged... to grow the business and make sure Well continues to serve its customers and local communities to the high standard the business has always delivered," he added.

What do you think of the Co-operative Pharmacy's new brand?


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What do you think about the takeover?

Brian Austen, Senior Management

Its re-brand consists of one word 'Well', and the obvious question has to be Well, what? I spoke to 6 people with no connection to pharmacy yesterday and everyone of them had the instant reaction "well, what?" They have already made very optimistic statements about increased revenue and then followed that with others about spending the majority of increased revenue on new headquarters, pharmacy refurbishments, new pharmacy wholesaler, lots of extra staff, etc. A report in the 'London Evening Standard' gives the impression that they are certain that commissioners will commission what are currently GP services in pharmacy as well as investing in a national minor ailments service and Healthy Living Pharmacies. I think their business analysts might be mistaken about that? They should have reported to the company that all the signs are that whoever wins the next election will continue looking for efficiencies in healthcare and pharmaceutical services (cuts in real terms). Any extra funding will need to go towards funding commitments made leading up to the election in relation to more GPs, more nurses, more resources for A&E, improved access to all NHS services. Everyone knows that there isn't enough money to meet all the pledges so there definitely will not be any money for new services that won't help politicians get re-elected. 'Well' analysts seem to have not paid attention to the 'Five Year Forward View'; "very catchy marketing", otherwise they might have noticed apart from noting the existence of pharmacies there isn't anything in it for them, despite the so called 'Call to Action'. I wonder if they will be quite so optimistic in a year's time.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Could be a disaster waiting to happen. Unless the have bribed commissioners which isn't necessarily so far fetched. Efficiencies are currently going on with regards pharmacist salaries.

James Mac, Community pharmacist

I was glad to see it had been sold but was disappointed that it didn't end up employee owned, as had been mooted before the sale. I had the opportunity to speak to an AM of theirs once, and read a lot about the co-op pharmacy chain in Insight (the PDA mag). They seemed a disgrace to the co-op movement. They treated pharmacists very badly I read, and were very very income and target focused. To be fair that's normal for England but the co-operative is supposed to be a ethical, considerate group, Paul Flowers excepted.

M Yang, Community pharmacist

Mr Nuttall's words of “personalised healthcare," "excellent patient experience" and "improving health" are comforting and give us hope that we'll have a new pharmacy chain in this country that we can be proud of. These words are all the more reassuring at a time when Stefano Pessana at Boots is making brazen statements about who we should vote for at the general election and making no effort to hide his hunger for profit. Having worked for them and attended their mandatory conferences (too many to be good for my health), I'm sick of the "pharmacy led health and beauty retailer" nonsense they spew out. Profit is important to business, but I hope that Well Pharmacy will prioritise in the right areas and invest in its greatest asset: the staff.

Chris ., Community pharmacist

no. chance. See above.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

I'll second that.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Thirded. But I also hope I'm wrong.

Ali Sparkes, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Glad they are catching up with the Independents !

Brian Austen, Senior Management

It is interesting to note that they are so optimistic about the future that they already have plans to spend the majority of their forecast revenue

Leon The Apothecary, Student

The company itself was strong anyway before they brought the business, so there's very little risk involved. Making larger profits may not mean just increasing income, they could equally cut expenses which'll increase margins.

John Randell, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

THEY WILL NEED TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR STAFF!!! happy staff----happy customers especially in a buisness where empathy and care is very are not going to wnat to listen to an old ladies stories knowing you are paid PEANUTS and knowing you have 1000 items to check with no support staff....

Chris ., Community pharmacist

Like making all the pharmacists go unpaid to Birmingham for the day to watch a reveal of the name. And massive pension cuts as previously reported........oh yeah, and pay freezes for 2014 (blaming the bank as per) and no rise in 2015 unless you hit ALL targets in 2014....

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Multiples currently don't really take care of their staff. They're minor irritations that have to be paid of which pharmacists are the main ones.

David Moore, Locum pharmacist

Is this the best they could come up with?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Such a lazy and tacky looking branding. You just know someone in marketing got paid a lot of money to do that in photoshop over a weekend...fair play.

Brian Austen, Senior Management

Exactly what I thought David, "Well, what?"

Dave Downham, Manager

"Bestway predicted that rising population size and life expectancy would allow it to increase customer numbers and raise revenue from £750m to £1bn over the next four years." Fantastic news - we should all be able to increase revenue by a third in 4 years, if the population increases by a third. Also, brand looks very similar to Boots' Wellbeing - Release the Lawyers!!

Chris ., Community pharmacist

For them to be able to do this they need to look after the staff, apparantly the morale of staff at Well is at an all time low after the changes and demands introduced by Bestway so far.

Paul Knapton, Community pharmacist

I'm not sure where this apparent information has come from, the vast majority of staff that I've spoken to recently were really happy with the changed that Bestway have made and have planned!

Chris ., Community pharmacist


Raymond Lee, Community pharmacist

Wish them "well"!

Michael Holden, Community pharmacist

Good to see one of the larger groups embracing the wellness opportunity to enhance population health beyond the supply of medicines whilst retaining the importance of that core role to optimise the care of patients. We need to see commissioning (national and local) that reflects and incentivises that more to reward those who have taken that leap of faith (e.g. Healthy Living Pharmacies)

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