TerryWhite Chemmart looks to tech in health

TerryWhite Chemmart3TerryWhite Chemmart is looking towards the “big opportunities” afforded by technology in health, as the pharmacy chain looks to wrap up the rollout of its new merged identity across Australia.

Nearly 12 months on from the major merger between the two brands, 370 pharmacies have so far been fitted out with the new look logo and branding, with expectations of the figure rising to 400 in the next few weeks before reaching the total of 475 by February next year.

“Rebranding an independent network of pharmacies in such a short period of time is a really big achievement, certainly never been done before in the history of pharmacy,” Anthony White, TerryWhite Chemmart CEO told Inside Retail Weekly.

“We’ve also worked through aligning the ranges in the pharmacy including the skincare and medicine ranges, though there’s still probably a few months’ work on that because it does takes stores some time to sell through deleted lines.”

White said the company has benefitted from restructuring the two brands, citing the examples of two marketing and merchandising departments becoming one, to support the brand under its new livery and proposition to customers. After absorbing the “heavy one-off integration costs” associated with the rebrand, White said the rewards are now beginning to show now the company has “a really clear single purpose”.

“The major synergy has been the cost out focus and that’s really been reinvested in marketing the new brand. So in the short-term our results are quite depressed, but in the medium-term, we’d hope to see a much stronger outcome in the next few years,” he said.

In the company’s latest trading update, TerryWhite Chemmart recorded total revenue of $91.0 million for the 12 months to June 30 2017, a 177 per cent increase on the previous year, with EBITDA of $8.0 million up 78 per cent on the prior year.

Commenting on the prospect of Amazon’s entry into Australia, White said pharmacy is arguably “more shielded as compared to electronics, apparel those more sort of transactional categories”.

“It’s going to be more a ‘second order’ effect where the apparel shop next door to the TerryWhite Chemmart store in Sunshine Plaza is not seeing as many customers, so that sort of knock-on effect will be more the issue.

“So we’re going to have to work harder to drive traffic through the pharmacies and as you know, retail never gets softer, never gets less competitive, so [it will be] another one of those bumps in the road to work out.”

The pharmacy retailer recently announced it will expand its pharmacy services to customers through a new mobile app, as it moves to strengthen its position in digital health care. The health app, powered by MedAdvisor, will provide medication and health services management to its customers. It will also allow patients to retrieve prescriptions on their smartphone or tablet, receive reminders when scripts are running low, use a ‘tap-to-refill’ function to pick up prescriptions at a convenient time, access exclusive health programs and enjoy benefits from TerryWhite Chemmart’s loyalty program.

“The future of TerryWhite Chemmart is in health and we see this new digital offering as fundamental to improving our ability to provide even better healthcare outcomes to all Australians,” White said.

This story was first published in Inside Retail Weekly magazine.

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