Superdrug eyes opportunities in Ireland

Health and beauty specialist Superdrug is running the rule over the Irish market, but has denied having immediate plans for a push there.

The retailer has assessed possible locations in greater Dublin and other urban areas, and is said to be on the lookout for up to 40 stores.

Superdrug would face fierce competition in Eire. According to the Irish Pharmacy Union, there are 1,208 retail pharmacy outlets in the country, between 60 and 70 per cent of which are single owner-run sites. The biggest group in terms of outlets is German-owned Unicare, which trades as Lloyds in the UK. In the Republic, it has 53 outlets.

Boots has 26 stores, according to the Irish Pharmacy Union. The largest locally owned group is Cork-based McSweeney’s, which has 22 outlets in Munster.

According to trade sources, an eventual move by Superdrug into the Irish market would prompt a shake-up of the pharmacy sector.