By: Aimee Shaw

A Chemist Warehouse store in Brisbane, Australia. Photo / Getty Images

Australia pharmacy giant Chemist Warehouse is tipped to open its first New Zealand store this week.

The Auckland store is set open in St Luke’s Wagener Place shopping complex.

First Retail Group managing director Chris Wilkinson said the store opening of the Australian retail brand would shake up New Zealand’s pharmacy business.

“It’s massive for the retail sector,” Wilkinson said.

“Traditional pharmacies, to compete now they’ll need to look to other areas where they can develop differentiation. It’ll be an opportunity now for traditional pharmacies to look at how they can change and adapt to better meet the market.”

The store opening would bring a range of new products to market, Wilkinson said.

“The key part about these stores is that they offer a depth and breadth of range which will likely appeal to consumers,” he said.

Chemist Warehouse has 400 stores across Australia.

Wilkinson said the chosen St Luke location suggests it’s going to be a larger format store.

He expected the retail giant to open multiple stores.

“I wouldn’t think that they would stop at one [store],” Wilkinson said.

“We imagine that they’ll be looking at areas like Mount Wellington after – that would be a logical next move, but other areas such as Albany, Manukau, Howick.”

Retail NZ general manager Greg Harford said Chemist Warehouse could face setbacks in the New Zealand retail market.

“Pharmacy in New Zealand is subject to quite a lot of regulation in terms of ownership; there are quite strict rules about pharmacists needing to have majority shareholdings in individual chemists so them coming in as a group will certainly add a bit of competition to the market, but they will find themselves potentially caught up in some of those complex rules in licensing and ownership,” he said.

“They can’t come into the market and open 20 stores owned by a corporate – that’s not what’s permitted under the New Zealand regulatory regime.”

Harford said the opening was good news for consumers.

“It will put some competitive pressure in the market, and perhaps drive down prices on some of those products that are bought over the counter,” he said.

“They’ll be wanting to test the market and my guess is the St Luke’s store will be a pilot for them to see how the market receives them.”

Chemist Warehouse have been approached for comment.

Source: NZ Herald


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