By: Aimee Shaw

Inside Chemist Warehouse’s first New Zealand store. Photo / Aimee Shaw

Competition in the pharmacy industry is ramping up as retail giant Chemist Warehouse prepares to open its second store next to Unichem Maxx in Botany.

In the currently empty retail space on Ti Rakau Dr a simple window sticker displays the Chemist Warehouse logo and the text: “Guess who’s moving in?”

Chemist Warehouse would not provide any details on the store opening.

Retail consultant Chris Wilkinson said the retailer, known for its packed-to-the-brim stores and heavily discounted product, was shaking up New Zealand’s pharmacy industry.

“Chemist Warehouse is the pharmacy equivalent of what JB HiFi did in the electronics sector. Basic stores, seemingly unstructured retail environments and loud, price-focused marketing,” Wilkinson said.

“Chemist Warehouse is definitely shaking up the sector and we’re already seeing progressive businesses looking hard at their current model to determine where their future niche lies.”

Its arrival in New Zealand in November last year had already forced pharmacies to develop specialities and offer alternative wellness and beauty services, he said.

“This will be good for the sector in driving greater awareness of pharmacy as a primary choice for health advice and solutions, but also see these stores sell more everyday goods – strengthening relevance and destination value,” Wilkinson said.

“In Australia, the greatest threat has been outside of the pharmacy sector, to grocery and mass merchants – who have been enjoying success in health and beauty categories.”

Chemist Warehouse quietly opened its first New Zealand store in St Lukes in November, keeping details and its arrival under wraps.

Chief executive Azman Haroon told the Herald in November that the company would open 10 stores in Auckland this year before expanding into Wellington and Christchurch.

The Herald has approached Green Cross Health, the owner of Unichem and Life Pharmacy, for comment on whether it expects business at its Unichem Maxx store in Botany to be impacted by Chemist Warehouse opening up shop next door.

Chemist Warehouse is worth AU$5 billion ($5.5b), has 400 stores across the Tasman and is Australia’s sixth largest retailer.

Source: NZ Herald

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