Midcounties Co-op sells three pharmacies in Walsall

The society’s annual report for 2017 revealed its pharmacy division had suffered due to government funding cuts

The Midcounties Co-operative has sold three of its local pharmacy businesses.

The three community pharmacies – Little London, Shelly’s and Brace Street – have been bought by Idris Karimjee of MK Pharma Ltd, a local pharmacist.

Mr Karimjee was the owner of the 100-hour White Pearl Pharmacy in Caldmore, which he opened in 2015. This was across the street from the Brace Street site and has been closed as part of this deal.

Midcounties said it was reshaping its pharmacy business in light of reductions in NHS funding for community pharmacy. To increase its long-term sustainability, the society will focus on a smaller bricks-and-mortar estate and growing its online healthcare business.

“At the present time we have no plans for further disposals,” said Alistair Rowland, group general manager, specialist retail.

“We have a profitable core estate and a growing online capability including a developing ‘online doctor’ service which we plan to grow substantially. Our strategy is developing Pharmacy where it is linked to GP services, adding value to our food stores, or mature and sufficiently profitable sites in our high streets.”

Midcounties’ annual report for 2017 revealed its pharmacy division had suffered due to government funding cuts but a new Patient Medication Record was helping to improve efficiency and services. The society’s Co-op Pharmacy business runs a web platform providing online prescriptions with home delivery, private prescriptions through online consultation, online doctor consultations and other features.

Coop Pharmacy operates 30 pharmacies throughout the Midlands and surrounding areas with some situated within Midcounties’ Co-op Food stores. In addition to its pharmacy business, the mutual is active in various other sectors, such as food retail, energy, travel, funeral care and childcare.

Jonathan Board, director at Christie & Co, which brokered the sale, said: “Idris was very quick to see the opportunity for him in this locality.

“Through running his 100 hour pharmacy, he had developed good relationships, but with the acquisition of these pharmacies, he will be able to operate three standard-hours pharmacies and migrate his existing items across from White Pearl to these new units, allowing him to reduce the large overheads often associated with running late- night pharmacies.”

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