In the midst of “weaker than anticipated” retail trading this financial year, API plans to inject more resources into its pharmacy health programs
Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API) recently announced revised profit guidance for the financial year ending 31 August 2017, due to a “further decline in consumer sentiment”.
CEO and managing director Richard Vincent said that while the company had forecast soft demand, sentiment had weakened again – leading to the revision in full-year profit expectations.
AJP spoke to Mr Vincent about how API plans to bolster its pharmacy brands in the coming year.
Firstly, he said there will be a focus on new and innovative brands in Priceline Pharmacy, as well as a more “personalised” in-store experience.
“You’ll be seeing lots of small innovative companies, so it’s about the ‘newness’, the naturals – lots of innovative products, not just from Australia but overseas as well,” Mr Vincent told AJP.
“And then we’ll take the experience in stores up a notch… it’s just all about that personalised in-store experience – taking it up a level.”
API also plans to continue to grow its Priceline Pharmacy network, as well as place more energy and focus into its other two brands, Soul Pattinson and Pharmacist Advice.
“We’ll open 20 new stores in the next year,” he reveals. “We’ve already got a pipeline of new stores that are coming, and a queue of pharmacists that are waiting to join Priceline Pharmacy.
“We’ve also put some effort and resource into Soul Pattinson and Pharmacist Advice, we’ve invested more into those two brands than we have in the past,” says Mr Vincent.
“You’ll start to see some changes happening with those brands around the dispensary and health programs,” he says.
“Since they’re more heritage pharmacy focused brands, their programs will be focused around wellness and health, similar to the health stations in the Priceline pharmacies.”
He says it’s important to differentiate between the brands under the API banner, with each focused on a different demographic.
“Priceline is down at the health and beauty end. Pharmacist Advice is more focused around professional pharmacy. It’s a different demographic of customers that are in those stores, an older demographic with more conditions and more things that need to be managed, so they need to spend more time talking to their pharmacist.
“Our Pharmacist Advice pharmacists are really focused on the professional services side of things, they really get a kick out of counselling their patients,” says Mr Vincent.
“Meanwhile Soul Pattinson is that heritage community pharmacy in the middle.
“So we try to differentiate those three offers, and then the product range to suit those three offers. What we’re doing in Soul Pattinson and Pharmacist Advice is focusing on the health programs and the wellness programs, and we’re putting more effort into what they look like.
“They’re all pharmacies owned by pharmacists, and what we’re trying to do is bring those skills and the advantage that they can bring to the community and then help them with some retailing and some marketing, merchandising and other programs.”