Celesio’s European Pharmacy Network expands further

Following a successful launch in Bicester and Bromsgrove, ten more LloydsPharmacy stores have undergone a radical service and store design transformation which has delighted customers leading to increased footfall and sales, the company claims.

A further 60 stores in the UK are scheduled to be converted to the new pharmacy concept – called EPN – before the end of 2013.

EPN stands for European Pharmacy Network as it is a concept which has been successfully implemented in several EU countries in which LloydsPharmacy’s parent company, Celesio AG, operates.

With a pioneering mix of retail and condition focused healthcare services supported by innovative technology and highly trained expert staff; the company says that EPN stores represent the future for community pharmacy.

The concept is being rolled out within the LloydsPharmacy estate initially, but Celesio has plans to offer a multi-layered franchise model to all entrepreneurial independent pharmacy owners which will provide them with the commercial and patient benefits which EPN offers.

The EPN stores have a particular focus on pain and skincare with pharmacy teams receiving enhanced training in these areas.

The conditions are being supported with more comprehensive product ranges. Walk-in patients will really feel that they are in the hands of healthcare professionals, the company said. In 2013, more than £1 million has been invested in training pharmacy teams alone.

Cormac Tobin, managing director for CelesioUK and LloydsPharmacy, said: “I believe EPN is going to revolutionise community pharmacy in the UK not just for Lloydspharmacy but importantly for our AAH community pharmacy partners.

“Everything we do at Celesio UK is a collaborative approach with all our customers to provide them with the tools they need to succeed commercially through meeting patient needs in new and innovative ways.

“We’ve created positive environments with strong service and product offerings to give communities exactly what they need and want, and this is being translated into sales. We’ve seen an almost 100 per cent [99.2%] uplift in the skincare category across stores that have transformed to the new concept, which is phenomenal.

“Independent pharmacists looking to take advantage of the EPN model will have an opportunity to invest in the franchise programme. I believe these opportunities will both complement and enhance already successful community pharmacy businesses.

“Franchising is a platform for partnership and innovation and can give independents the tools to stay cutting edge and competitive for the long term.”

Innovation through technology is a core element of the EPN concept. The Virginia Water branch was opened by Bruce Forsyth in May and offers a range of innovative services. It is the first LloydsPharmacy to house a dedicated mole screening clinic.

After taking high resolution images of the skin results are analysed by a skin specialist who then recommends the most suitable further treatment.

Digital skin analysers are also being introduced to many of the new pharmacies to provide tailored information on customers’ skin health. The analysers can examine hydration and elasticity of the skin which helps to inform the types of techniques and products someone should be using.

Touch-screen tablets are being introduced to provide condition and product information to help patients work toward agreed health goals with pharmacy staff.

In Dublin, the new LloydsPharmacy concept store was named OTC Retailer of the Year in April at the prestigious Irish Pharmacy Awards.

“Independent pharmacies can sign up to varying levels of franchise opportunity, from ‘entry stage’ through to a ‘fully branded and complete’ franchise offer”, added sales and marketing director, Nigel Swift. “Flexibility will allow them to swap between offerings dependent upon their demographic or tools required.”