LloydsPharmacy may have to sell a number of stores to sustain local competition after purchasing Sainsbury’s pharmacy estate.
In July of last year Sainsbury’s sold its 281 outlet pharmacy estate to LloydsPharmacy, which currently operates around 1,540 pharmacies in the UK, making it the country’s second largest pharmacy chain behind Boots.
That December the CMA launched an investigation into the merger, and recently concluded that it “would be expected to lead to a substantial lessening of competition” in several areas. As such, Lloyds may be forced to sell stores in these areas, totalling 13, in order for the merger to go ahead.
“We found evidence that there were some differences in the characteristics of Sainsbury’s and LloydsPharmacy customers, but we also found that customers would be willing to switch between Lloyds and Sainsbury’s pharmacies, particularly where the number of convenient competitor pharmacies was low,” said CMA Inquiry Chair Simon Polito.
He added that in the event LloydsPharmacy no longer faces competition in these areas, “customers will lose out.”