The rebranded Co-operative Pharmacy will launch a wholesaling arm that caters for independents later this year, C+D has learned.
The business announced its intention to branch out into wholesaling as part of its relaunch under the brand name 'Well' on Tuesday (February 10), and CEO John Nuttall said it was "getting on" with making the plans a reality before the end of 2015.
There would be an "entirely new team" to oversee the wholesaling business, which would supply independents, Mr Nuttall told C+D. Well also planned to "raise its profile and raise its game" by expanding its care home supply operations, he revealed.
Mr Nuttall added that Well had not ruled out the possibility of following in the footsteps of Boots and Lloydspharmacy by launching its own franchise for independents. “There are a number of operations in the UK but [we] need to gauge how successful they are before we launch into that,” he said.
The wholesale business will be funded as part of £200 million investment over five years by Bestway, which took ownership of the pharmacy chain in October. This would also cover a major staff recruitment drive and the relocation and renovation of its branches across the UK, Bestway said this week.
Mr Nuttall said the company was planning to "invest in more people to support all the new business channels”. “We will be acquiring pharmacies and acquiring colleagues along that journey,” he added.