Tesco is to roll out pharmacies in its smaller-format superstores following a trial last year as it seeks to reach its target of 350 within the next three years.
Tesco opened an 800 sq ft pharmacy at its Harlow store in Essex – about a third smaller than its traditional pharmacies – in its last financial year and has earmarked a further 30 locations for roll-out
Ashley Hicks, category director for healthcare at Tesco, said: “We wanted to get our pharmacies into more locations, so trialled it in one of our smaller superstores in Harlow and it’s worked really well.”
He added: “The smaller format has had its design squeezed and a slightly smaller range, but it still has a private consultation room.”
Hicks said Tesco recorded its “biggest ever year” for pharmacy in its full-year results, announced last week. He said the category now attracts 500,000 customers a week, prescriptions are up 10 per cent year on year and it is 9 per cent ahead in volume.
“We are very pleased with how we are progressing and customers like the convenience and services we provide,” said Hicks. “Customers can pick up their prescriptions while they are doing their food shopping, which is a clear benefit.”
At present Tesco has 270 pharmacies in the UK and Northern Ireland. Hicks also said pharmacies could be rolled out internationally in the long term. “Terry [Leahy, chief executive] asked me about international but it’s not in our short-term plan,” Hicks said. “The regulation is very different – but we will keep it on the long-term plan and not rule anything out.”
He added: “We believe our offer is as good as that of a traditional player like Boots. They offer a number of other private services but in terms of core NHS services, we also offer the same.”
Hicks said that Tesco will add new services to its pharmacy offer later this year. It launched its Health Check in January and has cut the cost of the service from £20 to £10 and will roll-out flu vaccinations to more stores this winter.