- Walgreens Boots Alliance eyes Boots stores in Australia
- Pharmaceuticals giant is “exploring every option” Down Under
- It could pursue a franchise model due to Australia’s pharmacy regulations
Boots owner Walgreens Boots Alliance is bidding to take the retailer to Australia to exploit “incredibly high” brand recognition in the country.
Walgreens Boots Alliance is exploring options to expand Down Under having registered its trademark with IP Australia late last year, according to reports.
The pharmaceuticals giant is considering establishing a Boots franchise network in the country and securing distribution deals for its health and beauty brands in local pharmacies.
“Brand recognition for Boots is incredibly high here in Australia and it feels a terrible shame to waste the recognition.”
Ken Murphy, Walgreens Boots Alliance
Walgreens Boots Alliance global brands president Ken Murphy said it would prefer to open company-owned Boots stores in Australia, but was currently banned from doing so under pharmacy ownership laws.
But Murphy told Fairfax Media: “Australians are such great travellers. That brand recognition for Boots is incredibly high here in Australia and it feels a terrible shame to waste the recognition.
“But there’s almost as much effort that goes into creating a franchise model as an owner model, the returns on investment are a lot tougher, and to justify the investment in Australia we’d have to have the capability to establish our own chain.
“We’d be happy to do that by acquiring pharmacies but we’d have to have the legal permission to do so.”
The federal Government’s Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement has put constraints in place on where pharmacies can be located until mid-2020.
However, state and territory ownership rules could come up for review sooner. The Government is in the midst of an independent review of pharmacy regulations, which is due to report in a year’s time.
Murphy added: “As the Government puts the squeeze on healthcare costs and as pharmacists find it increasingly difficult to make money from their prescription businesses I think that will force a change in the market.
“We invest a lot in pharmacy systems and services and in training of pharmacists – I think more than half the pharmacists in the UK have done their training at Boots – and we have a phenomenal logistics platform and supply chain.”
If current restrictions relating to pharmacy ownership are maintained in Australia, Murphy said he was “exploring every option”, which could pave the way for a new franchise under the Boots banner.