Walgreens Boots Alliance, owner of Boots, plans to expand its estate down under and make use of its “incredibly high” brand recognition in the country.
After registering its trademark with IP Australia at the end of last year, the health and beauty group is exploring the possibility of an Australian retail franchise.
In addition to a franchise network, Boots is mulling over the possibility of securing distribution deals for its health and beauty offering in local pharmacies.
While the group would like to open company-owned Boots sites in Australia, it is currently unable to do so due to pharmacy ownership laws.
“Australians are such great travelers. That brand recognition for Boots is incredibly high here in Australia and it feels a terrible shame to waste the recognition” Ken Murphy, Walgreens Boots Alliance’s Global Brands President told Fairfax Media.
“But there’s almost as much effort that goes into creating a franchise model as an owner model, the returns on investment are a lot tougher, and to justify the investment in Australia we’d have to have the capability to establish our own chain.
“We’d be happy to do that by acquiring pharmacies but we’d have to have the legal permission to do so.”
These rules could soon change as the government are currently working on an independent review of pharmacy regulations. The results will be revealed in a year’s time.
If regulations remain, however, Murphy said he would “explore every option” to create a new franchise under the Boots name.
“As the Government puts the squeeze on healthcare costs and as pharmacists find it increasingly difficult to make money from their prescription businesses I think that will force a change in the market” Murphy added.