Chemist Warehouse sees sales and profits slow amid tough retail landscape


Revenue declined marginally, down 0.7 per cent from $300.8 million to $298.6 million, but again a large drop from the $400 million recorded in 2016.

Chemist Warehouse operates more than 300 stores across the country and is owned by the Verrocchi and Gance families, spearheaded by reclusive businessmen Jack Gance and Mario Verrocchi.

The entire chain is estimated by industry analysts at IBISWorld to hold 23 per cent of the $19.5 billion Australian pharmacy market, which would give Chemist Warehouse an estimated total revenue of about $4-5 billion.

Determining the company’s true size is difficult because of Mr Gance and Verrocchi’s ownership structure, with the two maintaining individual directorships for nearly 100 Chemist Warehouse stores across the country.

In the end-of-year directors’ report for the East Yarra Friendly Society, the two directors said they considered the results to be “satisfactory considering recent changes to the business operations”.

Over the past decade, the pharmacy retail space has seen heightened competition from online operators and a rise in discount pharmacies and medical products sold through supermarkets.

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The industry is also highly regulated, with the government maintaining a strict say over who can operate pharmacies, and where they can be opened.

In August, the company pushed the government to stop “propping up” smaller chemist retailers, with chief operating officer Mario Tascone calling for changes to legislation which prevents the discounting of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines for pensioners and stops new chemists opening near existing ones.

“It’s the only protected industry in Australia and in the year 2019, these rules make no sense. We’re the only country in the world that does it,” he said.



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