Alliance Boots chairman Stefano Pessina said it is critical that retailers react to the growing need to be global.

He said this is the case in Boots’ core pharmaceuticals market. He said: “The three companies in Europe which have done this have survived. The others are in a very difficult situation. The same is true in other continents.”

Pessina  told the World Retail Congress there had been consolidation throughout the wholesale and manufacturer of pharmaceuticals across the US and Europe leaving two to three large players in both markets. He said pharmacy and retail was yet to consolidate at the same level.

He said: “We don’t want to be marginalised progressively. You have to anticipate markets as its changing quite rapidly.”

Pessina, who unveiled a strategic partnership between Alliance Boots and US giant Walgreen in June to create the world’s largest pharmacy chain, said the healthcare company is committed to “making the most” out of globalisation.

He said: “Globalisation is here to stay. We’re focussed on making the most of the situation rather than stop it.”

The move to internationalise is simply following the consumer, according to Pessina.

Pessina said: “The consumer is much more in control. They want to look and feel better and when they travel they want easy access to healthcare. There is a globalisation of the consumer.”