Pre-tax profit for the independent H Shackleton chain in the 12 months to October 2017 fell from £496,000 to £422,000, with half the loss due to the sale of one pharmacy in Wales, co-director Geoff Shackleton told C+D yesterday (August 13).
The turnover across all five H Shackleton branches over this period was down by almost 3%, from approximately £8.5 million to £8.25m, following “the trend [of] the last couple of years”, Mr Shackleton said.
The chain, which has branches in England and Wales, was forced to “cannibalise” its business by selling a pharmacy in Raglan, Monmouthshire last year “because of the uncertainty of pharmacy funding” in England, Mr Shackleton said.
The group now has three pharmacies in Wales as well as two in Hereford, England.
Aside from the funding cuts in England, H Shackleton’s turnover has also been shrinking because of the shift from branded to generics medicines, where potential profit has been “negated” by problems with generic pricing, Mr Shackleton said.
Relocation to offer extra services
In a push to consolidate the business after the sale, H Shackleton is relocating another Monmouthshire pharmacy, in Abergavenny, into a newly-fitted branch on the same road next week.
The new pharmacy will have a consultation and a treatment room, where it will offer travel vaccinations, Mr Shackleton said.
“We’re trying to make it an environment [that can provide] the extra services we can do now,” he added.
Welsh pharmacies in a “much better position”
Mr Shackleton said his community pharmacies in Wales are in “a much better position” than those in England, as the branches in England dispensing “below 5,000” items a month “will be very hard to keep running”.
“In England they are not promoting new services, they are quite often stopping new [ones], so it's much more difficult for us to increase any remuneration we're losing.”
“Whereas in Wales they've ring-fenced the money [for] new services. The biggest one is the common ailments service, which is now spread throughout the whole of Wales.”