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Well to 'review' Lloydspharmacies for sale, and won't close own stores

Well is taking different approach to funding pressures, chief executive has said
Well is taking different approach to funding pressures, chief executive has said

Well Pharmacy will "review" the list of 190 Lloydspharmacy branches when they come up for sale, and has no plans to close stores of its own, C+D has learned.

Lloydspharmacy parent company Celesio UK announced last week (October 26) it will cease trading in 190 “commercially unviable” branches across England, “through a combination of store closures and divestments”.

It exclusively told C+D it is “already in discussions with some parties who have expressed an interest in our pharmacies”, but was unable to confirm which branches it has identified for sale.

Well Pharmacy chief executive John Nuttall told C+D it is “not actively involved in these discussions”.

“However, once more information and a store list is made available, our portfolio team will review it,” Mr Nuttall said last Friday (October 27).

Well is “taking a different approach” in response to the funding pressures in England, Mr Nuttall added, “by investing in our hub-and-spoke model and digital operations”.

“Our thoughts go out to all the colleagues and communities potentially impacted by [the Lloydspharmacy announcement],” he stressed.

“No plans” for Well closures

Mr Nuttall also sent a message to all Well employees “reassuring” them the chain “has a strong plan” for the future, “and has no plans to close any pharmacies”.

See a full copy of Mr Nuttall’s announcement to Well employees below.

Dear colleagues,

You will have seen in the news that Lloydspharmacy have announced they will be ceasing trade in 190 pharmacies across England.

As a result of this news, I wanted to write to you and reassure you that we have a strong plan for Well, and have no plans to close any pharmacies. Personally, I am confident of our future, there is no question we are going through a big shake up in the industry.

Our priorities for the 17-18 financial year remain unchanged. The pressure continues to increase for our pharmacy teams and the sector as a whole. We’ve been really honest with everyone about our plans to transform how we work. We will be automating how we manage our repeat prescriptions through advanced dispensing, to get us ahead of the competition.

I’ve witnessed first-hand your resilience and determination and it is more important than ever to consistently focus on our customers, making sure every patient who walks into our pharmacies feels the care and empathy they deserve.

While I am very confident in our future, it matters to me how you feel and that you share my confidence in this business. Our potential is enormous. Some of the work we are leading should change the landscape of the profession and pharmacy market.

I know it has been a tough year, and it will continue to be challenging. I truly believe we are well positioned in the marketplace to take advantage of the opportunities this change brings, and that you have the passion and ability to deliver outstanding service for our customers.

Kind regards, 

John Nuttall
Chief executive

Are you a Lloydspharmacy employee?

CAPT FX, Locum pharmacist

This is the mark of a CEO who is sensitive to the impact on staff at all levels. The Kind of thing Lloyds has never done and will never do. Of the two companies I would have expected Well to be whinning and mourning like what Lloyds is doing but they are doing all the right things. They borrowed recently to finance the purchase of the business from The Cooperative and possibly have more pressing financial issues than Lloyds. 

I think staff will appreciate and respect this and will have more goodwill. 

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

I think John Nuttall is prudent to reassure Well staff about their intention to strengthen the business and to cautiously review the Lloydspharmacy sales list. Lloyds has always been the same as I remember when they bought up a lot of Cohens Chemist stores within 12 months sold half of them back to Cohens. it is just waht they do as a company.

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