Co-op Chemists pick Senior King

National Co-operative Chemists has appointed Senior King Communications to come up with a strategy on how best to respond to supermarket competition following pharmaceutical deregulation next year

National Co-op Chemist, part of the Co-operative Group, has 307 stores nationwide, from Dunfermline to Peterborough. It returned profits of £9.8m to the group for the year to April, up £3.9m year on year

However, pharmaceutical deregulation will open up the dispensing market and supermarkets are expected to pounce on this lucrative new revenue stream.

A spokeswoman for Co-op Chemists says that deregulation also presents an opportunity, as it gives chemists the chance to offer services previously handled by doctors, such as taking blood pressure and cholesterol testing.

Senior King is researching what local communities want from their high street chemist and how Co-op Chemists can differentiate itself from rival pharmacy brands such as Moss Pharmacy and Lloyds Pharmacy.

A spokesman says: “The Co-op very much wants to become the community pharmacy of choice.”

Results are expected to lead to changes in ranging and positioning in-store and possibly an overall rebranding of the chain.

An announcement on deregulation is expected from the Government by late spring next year. The Department of Trade and Industry has stated that it supports partial deregulation rather than the Office of Fair Trading’s recommendation for full deregulation.

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