Cape Town – Health and beauty retailer Clicks today opened its 500th pharmacy at Park Station in central Johannesburg, underlining its position as South Africa’s largest retail pharmacy chain.
Clicks opened the country’s first corporate retail pharmacy in Sea Point, Cape Town in March 2004. Over the past 14 years Clicks has followed a consistent growth strategy, opening its 100th pharmacy in 2006, growing to 200 by 2009 and doubling the number of pharmacies to 400 by 2016.
Clicks currently has a 22.2% share of the retail pharmacy market and aims to grow this to 30% in the long term.
Clicks Group chief executive David Kneale said: “From the outset the Clicks pharmacy strategy has been aligned with the national healthcare agenda of making medicine more affordable and more accessible for all South Africans, while improving the efficiency and quality of healthcare delivery.”
“Our goal is to expand the Clicks store base in South Africa to 900 in the long term, with a pharmacy operating in every store.”
Kneale said the Clicks pharmacy model is based on convenience. “The opening of our pharmacy at Park Station, which is the largest railway station in Africa, highlights our commitment to making our store and pharmacy locations even more convenient to customers. Clicks also has another 35 stores within a 10km radius of Park Station,” he said.
Clicks now has 466 convenience format stores across urban and rural South Africa, and 180 large format destination stores which are mainly located in major malls.
The retailer targets to open 30 to 35 pharmacies each year. In the 2017 financial year Clicks opened 73 pharmacies, including 37 as part of an outsourcing agreement with the Netcare Group to manage the pharmacies in its Medicross medical and dental centres.
Clicks is also committed to playing a role in addressing the severe shortage of pharmacists. “As the largest employer of pharmacy staff in the private sector in South Africa with over 2 700 pharmacy and clinic professionals, we continue to invest in capacity creation. Since 2012 the group has funded bursaries for 400 pharmacy students and provided internships for 266 pharmacy graduates.”
Clicks Group recently announced a R100 million donation over two years from its employee share scheme trust to the New Clicks Foundation to support students in further education. The funding will enable Clicks to grant 100 bursaries each year to help ensure a sustainable pipeline of pharmacists entering the profession.