Chemist Warehouse’s biggest event of the year

Singles Day has again been “huge” for Chemist Warehouse, as a spokesperson for the discount giant dismisses Israel rumours as “fake news”

November 11 is a shopping holiday which has become extremely popular for young people in China as they celebrate being single – the date, 11/11, signifying singledom. The event is often compared to other significant sales days such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

The event has now become the biggest online event of the year for Chemist Warehouse, the chain said in a statement.

While overall it is surpassed by Christmas and Boxing Day in Australia, Singles Day is now its largest campaign of the year when considering sales per hour or per store.

This year it enjoyed 100 million RMB (AUD$20.8 million) in sales on Alibaba platforms – in only three hours and 15 minutes. In 2018, Chemist Warehouse attracted the same figure in sales in just under seven hours.

Nancy Jian, chief operating officer of Chemist Warehouse’s China division, said the jump in sales was likely due to the discounter’s new storefront on another online marketplace for international brands: Netease Kaola; as well as the opening of the first bricks and mortar Chemist Warehouse in Zengzhou, China in October 2019.

“It was packed with people and customers had to line up to get into the store. We believe the potential will be huge here,” Ms Jian said of the opening of the new store, where Chemist Warehouse launched its Singles Day campaign.

Chemist Warehouse continued to provide discounts for Singles Day via Tmall Global, where it is still the biggest international merchant.

Ms Jian said that this year had been a little different as Chemist Warehouse had invested in live streaming and social media influencers to help push traffic and sales.

Chemist Warehouse said that the biggest growth was seen in its beauty, personal care and baby segments.

Mario Tascone, chief operating officer of Chemist Warehouse, told the AJP that “as usual it was huge,” and that the sales results for the Zengzhous store were similarly big.

Meanwhile, Israeli media outlet Haaretz has speculated that Chemist Warehouse could be coming to that country, saying such a market entry could “shake up Israel’s drugstore sector, known for its limited competition and high prices”.

Adi Dovrat-Meseritz and Gabriela Davidovich-Weisberg write that the group is considering partnering with local discount supermarket magnate Rami Levy, who bought a controlling share in a small and “struggling” Israeli discount pharmacy group, Gur Pharm, in 2018.

“Economy Minister Eli Cohen made the connection between Levy, Gur Pharm and Chemist Warehouse as part of his two-year project to lower Israel’s cost of living,” the pair write.

“The Economy Ministry reached out to several major foreign drugstore chains to recommend that they enter Israel’s market, given the poor state of competition here.

“Chemist Warehouse was the only company to express interest, and the ministry sent it proposals from potential partners with business experience in Israel, including from Rami Levy.

“Chemist Warehouse and Levy are currently in talks to create a major pharmacy chain that would compete with Super-Pharm, which controls Israel’s market.”

However, Mr Tascone dismissed these claims.

“As for Israel I can confirm this is ‘fake news’,” he told the AJP.

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