Green Cross Health’s pharmacy profits rise after rebrand

  • News
  • May 27, 2015
  • Elly Strang
Green Cross Health’s pharmacy profits rise after rebrand

Green Cross Health, which owns and operates Unichem and Life pharmacies, has reported a profit of $14.4 million for the year ending 31 March.

Total assets of the company are now $191.1 million, an increase from 2014’s figure ($134.5 million).

Chairman of Green Cross Health Peter Merton says it has achieved strong sales franchisee growth in its pharmacy business.

“We believe we have achieved a significant amount during the year that sets the company up well for the future,” says Merton.

The pharmacy business grew 5.1 percent in same store sales, which is a vast improvement on 2014’s negative 1.3 percent growth.

The second half of the year was the best performing for its pharmacies, with same store sales growth at 11.5 percent.

Thirteen new franchisees also joined the group.

The pharmacies it owns have been rebranding to merge under the Unichem and Life Pharmacy brands. More than 200 pharmacies have been rebranded so far.

The company was formerly called Pharmacybrands until 2014 and pharmacies it owned operated under the Unichem and Life Pharmacy names, as well as Amcal, Radius and Care chemist.

It then rebranded as Green Cross Health when it expanded from just pharmacies into primary health services.

It now has a medical division and a community care division after acquiring companies Peak Primary and Access Homehealth.

The company says its customer engagement programme has also achieved great results.

The Living Rewards membership programme has soared to 958,000 cardholders.

“It is extremely encouraging to see the positive results of the investment in pharmacy rebranding and our customer engagement strategy,” says Merton.

“We also increased our market share in dispensary across our pharmacy group to 44 percent and we continue to lead the development of professional services for the pharmacy industry in our Unichem and Life Pharmacies.”

Green Cross Health chief executive Grant Bai spoke earlier this month at the Retail Australasia Summit in Auckland about how focusing on customer satisfaction has benefited his company.

“Health, in my mind, is one of the most emotional aspects of retail,” he said.

Bai spoke of the breadth of customer needs that pharmacies needed to address, saying his clients had different mindsets when they visited for a medical need rather than a new lipstick.

Despite the seriousness of some of the pharmacies’ roles, Bai said retail needs to be “theatrical and fun”. Customer satisfaction is about customer experiences, and creating an environment where satisfaction is high.

Regarding communication with customers, Bai says brands “think they’re great at communicating but most don’t deliver relevant information that customers want to hear.”

He recommended retailers be mindful of this paradigm when sending out email direct messages, direct messages, texts and other communications.

Green Cross has a text-feedback programme for customers.

Bai says this had been so successful that after one “sub-optimal” prescription experience, the local pharmacist addressed the issue at hand so quickly that the customer was still in the carpark when it was sorted out.

He signalled the approach of a digital “health portal” which will allow patients more control over their experience and give greater opportunity for feedback.

The company said in its end of year report that it plans to focus on profitable growth for the future.

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