Lloydspharmacy aims to become a specialist in healthcare wearable tech to differentiate its offer form its health and beauty rivals.

The pharmacy retailer, which has begun selling wearable devices in recent weeks, plans to create apps that can be used with the technology so customers can monitor such things as blood pressure, weight and cholesterol, on a daily basis.

Lloydspharmacy would also look to partner with other parties, such as GPs and gyms to bring customers’ health information together in one place.

Lloydspharmacy UK and ROI managing director Cormac Tobin said he believes technology will help the retailer bolster its role as the voice in health and well being.

He said: “We need to be authoritative and trusted. People need a very strong, compelling reason to come into Lloyds and we want them to believe Lloyds is the best and ‘I want to do business with them’. If you can be the most trusted in the field and loyal to their changing needs in the world, you can win.

“Healthcare hasn’t been as progressive [as the rest of the digital world] but now with wearable tech it has become funky and people want to tell each other what they have done.”

Return to growth

Lloydspharmacy profits fell almost 20% to £14.5m in the year to December 31, 2013 as the retailer restructured the business, aligning with its sister companies. But sales returned to growth in the year, as Lloydspharmacy grew sales to £1.78bn from £1.72bn driven by the pharmacy chain’s new in-store services, such as travel injections and consultations, and new store refits.

He said: “The pharmacy sector continued to be challenged by reductions in the drugs tariff. However we were largely able to offset tariff cuts through strong growth in our secondary care business and significant improvements in service sales within pharmacy, including double digit growth in Christmas sales, which helped to achieve a year-on-year increase in turnover by 3.7%, compared to a 2.2% fall in 2012.”

Tobin said as of September 2014, more than 250 stores have been refitted to the European Pharmacy Network design, which was introduced in 2012, to align the look and feel of the group’s stores across Europe.

“These are being extremely well received by consumers and performing exceptionally well with double-digit growth in retail sales,” Tobin added.

Since year-end, sales have grown between 8% and 10%. Lloydspharmacy has been driving its multichannel offer, launching click-and-collect last month and it opened the first physical store for its online and mail order independent living Betterlife business in August.