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Well mulled Sainsbury’s pharmacies purchase

Zameer Choudrey: Well's business model is focused on pharmacies in the community

The multiple decided supermarkets are the wrong location for its business, says Well owner Zameer Choudrey


Well considered buying Sainsbury’s pharmacy business but decided it is not “a good fit”, C+D has learned.

The rebranded multiple, formerly the Co-operative Pharmacy, “looked at” the possibility of buying the supermarket’s pharmacies before they were acquired by Lloydspharmacy in July, Well owner Zameer Choudrey told C+D.

The sale of the 281 branches was “interesting”, but Well decided the “locations were not where we wanted”, Mr Choudrey said at the opening of a rebranded Well pharmacy in north-west London on yesterday (September 9).

Well’s business model is focused on pharmacies “closer to GP surgeries or in the community”, rather than in supermarkets, he stressed.

“It is more convenient for our customers to be able to go and see a GP rather than visit a shopping centre,” he said.

Well bought seven Devon pharmacies in March and had further plans to “expand its footprint”, said Mr Choudrey, who is CEO of Well parent company Bestway. “Whenever we get opportunities to acquire any small-or medium-sized chain, we will certainly be interested,” he added.

Bestway unveiled the first rebranded Co-operative pharmacies in May and told C+D on Wednesday that the rebrand of all 780 branches will be complete by October.


Do you think Well should have bought Sainsbury's pharmacies?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information


Anne Glover, Accuracy checking technician

They bought them because of the values the the brand stand for.

BL E, Primary care pharmacist

Clearly Sainsbury's were looking to sell and Lloyd's probably thought, in a very basic sense, if they didn't buy them someone else will. The data we get at store level for how Sainsbury's pharmacies are doing indicates good growth - maybe not such a 'crap' buy as people seem to think.

Margaret O'doherty, Community pharmacist

Buying something because if you won't somebody else will is a common reason for all sorts of purchases but also a very poor reason. You should buy something because YOU want it, regardless of whether two or two thousands others do. Lloyds were already competing against Sainbury's and could also compete against who ever bought them but many groups want growth at any price. "Turnover for vanity. Profit for sanity."

A.S. Singh, Community pharmacist

basically saying Lloyds bought a bunch of crap

Bob Dunkley, Locum pharmacist

It is difficult to see what a company founded on cement products and running a chain of downmarket off-licences could want with pharmacies.

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