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Pharmacybrands Opens First Smart Pharmacy

February 7, 2006

Pharmacybrands Opens First Smart Pharmacy

Pharmacybrands has officially opened its first Smart Pharmacy store in Palmerston North today, the start of a nationwide rollout.

Smart Pharmacy, which will operate under a franchise model, is a direct response to industry deregulation and a changing competitive landscape.

Pharmacybrands' CEO Alan Wham said the new store, located in The Square, Palmerston North, was the first of up to 100 such stores to be based in convenient locations around the country.

"Smart Pharmacy builds on local research and global best practice to provide a retail offering based on outstanding levels of professional service, broad consumer choice, convenience and value."

Pharmacybrands aims to have three pilot Smart Pharmacy stores in different locations around New Zealand and introduce a franchise offering by the end of 2006.

The next Smart Pharmacy is planned for Auckland.

Pharmacybrands chairman Jim McLay said the new model had been extensively researched over a three year period.

"Increasing competition from supermarkets and department stores following deregulation in 2004 means the pharmacy sector has to innovate to survive.

"The Smart Pharmacy model is Pharmacybrands' response, and, because the retail side of the business - purchasing stock, inventory and pricing - is centrally managed by Pharmacybrands, it allows pharmacists to focus on offering their customers the highest levels of professional care. This means pharmacists have more time to spend with customers," Mr McLay said.

Stores will be larger than what New Zealanders are used to and will feature user-friendly layouts such as checkouts at the front of the store, clearer signage and increased product ranges at more competitive prices.

The new 360sq m store features more than 7,500 different health and beauty products, as well as prescription medicines. The store will mean 10 additional jobs for Palmerston North.

Smart Pharmacy will not affect Pharmacybrands' Amcal, DispensaryFirst or Unichem brands however, Mr Wham said Pharmacybrands is receiving a lot of interest in the Smart Pharmacy model from existing Pharmacybrands licensees, as well as independent pharmacies.

ENDS

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