A challenger appears: Chemist Warehouse to enter New Zealand

  • News
  • August 21, 2017
  • Sarah Dunn
A challenger appears: Chemist Warehouse to enter New Zealand

Australia’s largest pharmacy, Chemist Warehouse, is coming to New Zealand. The 400-store chain employs over 8,000 staff members.

Chemist Warehouse is currently hiring in New Zealand, with job listings for retail pharmacy assistants; pharmacists; storepersons; a retail manager and a dispensary technician listed on job-search sites such as Seek.

According to these listings, Chemist Warehouse’s first Kiwi store is to be in Auckland. The store's website is owned and operated by the EPharmacy group, but the company itself is family-owned. News.com.au reported in 2016 that the company sold AU$4 billion worth of stock each year through its Chemist Warehouse, My Chemist and My Beauty Spot brands.

On its website, Chemist Warehouse says “Our great savings on products are due to aggressive pricing and larger volumes of trade. Unlike overseas rivals, we do not use any product that has not been approved for sale in Australia by the relevant authorities.”

Currently, New Zealand’s pharmacy sector is dominated by Green Cross Health, which represents around 350 pharmacies around the country. Green Cross owns the Unichem and Life Pharmacy brands.

As of 2014, Green Cross Health reached over 67 percent of the market and fulfilled more than 40 percent of New Zealand's prescriptions on an annual basis. When he spoke to Stuff about Chemist Warehouse's entry, Green Cross Health chief executive Grant Bai was relaxed about Chemist Warehouse's entry.

"None of us like a new person stepping on their patch and it's my job to be worried, but I'm a big believer of play the ball, not the man. We have to be really good at what we do, not focus totally on this discounter coming to market.

"I think they will be a little bit more challenged in New Zealand because of Pharmac, who dictate the price of medicines and have made our medicines some of the cheapest in the world," Bai said.

Chemist Warehouse has been approached for comment.

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