The broker has already seen a 75% increase in sales of pharmacies that have either exchanged or completed in the first three months of 2017, compared with the same period last year, it said.
Tony Evans, head of pharmacy at Christie & Co, told C+D yesterday (April 5) that although the cuts to pharmacy funding in England have “accelerated” the plans of some contractors to leave the market, “confidence in the long-term future of the sector” remains strong.
Mr Evans added that 2016 also saw a “high number” of sales.
Healthy sales despite challenges
Law firm Hugh James also reported a “healthy rate” of pharmacy mergers and acquisitions.
The firm announced on Monday (April 3) that takeovers of pharmacies are up 95% in the last year financial year, as the “traditionally fragmented sector continues its consolidation”.
Hugh James cited General Pharmaceutical Council's (GPhC) figures, which the firm claimed show 1,294 pharmacies were taken over in 2015-16, compared to 664 in 2014-15.
It attributed the rise in sales to pharmacy groups acquiring smaller competitors or merging to help match the “economies of scale” that multiples such as Boots have achieved.
Greg Williams, partner at Hugh James, said sales activity has continued "despite the challenges faced by the sector".
Recent acquisitions in the sector include two sales by Lloydspharmacy's parent company Celesio UK with eight branches bought by Cohens and seven by Sutton Chase Ltd. Lloydspharmacy's acquisition of Sainsbury's 281-branch pharmacy business completed last year.