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Independents offered chance to rebrand as Lloydspharmacy

Business Independent pharmacies will have the chance to rebrand themselves as a Lloydspharmacy branch from September, when the multiple’s parent company Celesio UK launches its virtual pharmacy network.

Independent pharmacies will have the chance to rebrand themselves as a Lloydspharmacy branch from September, when the multiple's parent company Celesio UK launches its virtual pharmacy network.

Celesio UK managing director Cormac Tobin revealed in an exclusive interview with C+D on Tuesday (July 23) that the company was offering the scheme to AAH customers in the UK from September. It plans to open it to other independents at a later date, as part of the creation of a European Pharmacy Network (EPN). 

Independent contractors will have the option of entering the EPN franchise at three levels, becoming fully branded, co-branded or remaining separate from the Lloydspharmacy brand, he said.

Independents will have the option as part of the network to become fully branded, co-branded or to remain separate from the Lloydspharmacy brand

More on Celesio

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Celesio confident despite drop in pharmacy earnings

Cormac Tobin: Leading Lloyds


The EPN model, which involves a shop refit and enhanced training to pharmacy staff on skincare and pain management, is used in selected Lloydspharmacy stores already. These pharmacies had seen skincare sales almost double, Mr Tobin said.

Mr Tobin stressed that Celesio's EPN model was distinct from Alliance Healthcare's Alphega virtual network – which has more than 4,700 independent pharmacy members across Europe – because it focused on skin health and pain management.

"The lack of clarity in categories in pharmacies is distressing and it's not their fault. Big companies have these resources and we can use them in this area," he said.               

If no AAH customers in an area wanted to join the franchise then Celesio would consider offering it to another independent, Mr Tobin added. "AAH customers have shown huge loyalty to us over the years. But if somebody doesn't want [the franchise], you've got to be fair and offer it to somebody else."

Mr Tobin could not provide details of how much contractors would have to pay or how many he expected to join, but said those who owned a number of pharmacies could expect to receive a discount. He would not reveal how much had been invested in the scheme, but said that Celesio had put "substantial money" behind it and planned to spend "considerable marketing funds" to engage with independent pharmacists.

The offer for independents is part of a wider plan for Celesio pharmacies in the UK, with more than 70 Lloydspharmacy stores scheduled to be converted to the EPN model by the end of the year. Celesio invested more than £1 million in training Lloydspharamcy teams for EPN this year, the company said.

Despite a first-quarter year-on-year fall in earnings for Celesio's retail pharmacy division, Mr Tobin said the EPN model was a "new path to earnings" and he expected the company to take on more staff in the future.


Levels of franchise

Optimum level This will cover every aspect of the EPN concept, including full Lloydspharmacy branding.

Pro level The pharmacy will be co-branded with Lloydspharmacy but the contractor will maintain control of certain aspects of the business.

Essential level This includes all the services not linked to the Lloydspharmacy brand, including category management, buying, development of standard operating procedures and business plans.

Would you consider rebranding as Lloydspharmacy?

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David McNaughton, Community pharmacist

Best laugh I have had in pharmacy for years .... Brand as Lloyds .. BRILLIANT heheheheh

Calum Nelson, Locum pharmacist

Can I suggest my own scheme? Its similar but cheaper. Rather than having to pay money to Lloydspharmacy, you can simply give your pharmacy away to me for free! That's right, FREE! I can then tell you how to run the pharmacy you've owned for years, tell you what products you now stock, set all the prices and just generally shout at you a lot. You'll be supported by many layers of management above you, each headhunted from positions such as Argos Assistant Area Manager and Phones4U Sales Team. Our generous remuneration package includes a moderate sliver of the profit from the pharmacy you used to own, a name badge, 10% discount in the pharmacy you used to own, 5% discount on holidays at some resort you won't be able to afford and exclusive quotes on Early Grave life insurance.

Matthew Howard, Community pharmacist

Hahahaha, Calum that is priceless

Amal England, Public Relations

First and foremost this is a business initiative and not about health issues. This is another way for Lloyds to increase income especially in areas where it has a weak appearance, geographically. This is bad news for pharmacy and the patient as well as having the potential to be anti-competitive. In other areas where Lloyds have picked up a bad name due to poor service, I doubt many independents would want to be associated with Lloyds.

Matthew Howard, Community pharmacist

This all depends on how strong a brand you think Lloydspharmacy is. It doesn't seem much different to alphega to me except maybe you'd get lloyds branded generics...
Whether that's good or bad in the eyes of your customers and staff is another thing.

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

This is marketing genius! Get an independent retailer to pay you to spread your brand - I doff my cap to Mr Tobin

Sachin Badiani, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

I won't be signing up to Lloyds scheme as I am an Alliance Healthcare member, but I don't see how this is different to Alphega Pharmacy.

Alphega is 5 years ahead of Lloyds.

Stephen Walsh, Community pharmacist

Have I got the date wrong? Thought it was July not April.

Richard Stephenson, Senior Management

WOW I wonder how many people have phoned them already to express an interest.....I personally just don't see how this would help a Pharmacy for the good.

Janet Fray, Community pharmacist

Celesio will benefit not pharmacy. Multiples do not seem to be interested in pharmacy as a profession only pharmacy as a business. Although I think the concept is good I wander what will happen to the existing lloyds pharmacy branches. If independents re-brand to lloydspharmacy wouldn't we have a lot of lloyds pharmacies competing with each other?

Yo Palumeri, Community pharmacist

toxic branding?

Kunal Thakrar, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

Yes the re-branding concept is excellent, and I'd be up for it as long as the words LloydsPharmacy' are not visible on the signage outside my pharmacy.
Being part of Celesio - yes - great, but I would find it annoying to be branded LLoyds Pharmacy and having their heads of staff telling me what to do, when to to and how to do it...

Keith Seston, Other pharmacist

This makes a lot of sense.Why let your business suffer a slow lingering death due to funding cuts,bureacratic burden and NHS reorganisation when you can end it all much more quickly by rebranding as "Lloyds".Think of Celesio as a kind of Dignitas for your business

K Patel, Community pharmacist

or turkeys voting for christmas

Catriona Brodie, Community pharmacist

Slightly gobsmacked by this article if I'm completely honest.

Mike Hewitson, Superintendent Pharmacist

Glad I'm not the only one!


Jonathan Burton, Superintendent Pharmacist

erm, yeah, erm. Me too!

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