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Pharmacy market remains strong despite COVID-19 outbreak, brokers say

Christie & Co: The appetite among first time buyers has remained strong
Christie & Co: The appetite among first time buyers has remained strong

The pharmacy sales market has remained strong despite the COVID-19 outbreak, brokers Christie & Co and Hutchings Consultants have told C+D.

Pharmacy brokers Christie & Co told C+D last week (June 3) that between March 1 and May 29, it received “in excess of 165 offers against the pharmacies we have on the market”. This resulted in 56 deals being agreed.

Last year, the broker received an average of 50 offers per month, so the demand has “remained in line” with expectations, despite this year’s COVID-19 outbreak, it said.

Tony Evans, head of pharmacy at Christie & Co, told C+D that the pandemic led to a “significant increase in both dispensing and retail activity in the first few weeks”.

This resulted  in “pharmacy becoming the frontline service of primary care”, creating an “increased awareness” of the sector and boosting  “interested parties’ long-term confidence”, he added. 

The appetite among first-time buyers has also “remained strong”, he told C+D.

Mr Evans also said there has been an “increase in the number of existing operators who are returning to the market in search of new opportunities to expand their businesses”,  adding that this is particularly “interesting”.

“The pharmacy market and [Christie & Co] have remained firmly open for business over the course of the pandemic and contractors looking to sell or acquire should take comfort that sales are still being achieved even within these more restricted times,” he said.

Hutchings: Market is “far from slowing down”

Anne Hutchings, managing director of pharmacy brokers Hutchings Consultants, said the business has been “surprised by the amount of activity” it has seen since the COVID-19 outbreak.

The pharmacy sales market is “far from slowing down” in the face of the pandemic, she added.

Hutchings Consultants completed 10 pharmacy sales between March 23 and May 18, seeing offers on 48 pharmacies it was selling.

It also reported 127 new buyers as registering in that timeframe, and Ms Hutchings said the business has “heard from a number of group owners who have bought from us in the past and are now looking to buy more pharmacies”.

In March, Hutchings reported 53 new buyers as having registered, just one fewer than in March 2019.

Are you planning to sell or buy a pharmacy in the near future?

mark straughton, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Always going to be opportunities, in the short term at least, for contractors to increase their market share as multiples 'try' to become more efficient and close branches.

C A, Community pharmacist

Excuse me if I'm being stupid - but it seems like a great time to sell, given that Pharmacy has had a nice "advance" payment that will be clawed back (if it's clawed back yada yada) off the new owners

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

If I was to buy a pharmacy, I think I'd be taking that into account and negotiating a reduction in the purchase price. However, since I have more than the two brain cells mentioned below, I won't be buying a pharmacy.

Community Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

Values of pharmacies have dropped
People are selling up and getting the hell out. Those with 2 brain cells anyway. The big boys are stream lining and closing branches left right centre. This article is from someone who sells pharmacies hence very biased. Shes out of touch with nhs and government cuts.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

An indy can make more money from a site than a multiple can. Remember that the multiple has to pay the pharmacist salary AND pull a significant profit - an indy only has to pay themselves then the rest can break even. However........I think anyone who would even consider buying a pharmacy is utterly barking mad. There will be no such thing as pharmacy in 10 years time.

Axed Locum, Locum pharmacist

 the business has “heard from a number of group owners who have bought from us in the past and are now looking to buy more pharmacies

Doom Mongers proved wrong once again; pleading poverty disingeniously, whilst profiteering handsomely at the tax payers expense!!

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