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    Tough competition in pharma retail: Guardian Lifecare

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    , the India franchisee of Pittsburg-based GNC Inc., in an exclusive email to Indiaretailing confirmed that there is tremendous competition in the market as a number of corporate giants including , Fortis and have entered the health-and-beauty retail space.

    Naming competitive players, a company spokesperson said, “ Pharmacies and Medicine Shoppe are two serious competitors. Besides, there are other small players like 98.4, CRS, Health & Glow, Lifeken Bangalore Trust Chemists, and Dial for Health.”

    The company, in an effort to expand in this competitive market, is raising Rs 100 crore through private equity.

    Confirming the news in an email, , chairman and managing director, Guardian Lifecare, said: “We are present in different regions in the NCR. We want to expand our reach to cater to a large number of consumers. By the end of March 2009, we will add 150 stores across India. As of now, two new stores will open this month in Mumbai.”

    “We are raising Rs 100 crore by offloading a minority stake to a PE firm. We expect to finalise the deal in a month’s time,” informed Garg.

    At present, Guardian Lifecare operates 106 stores in 13 cities in the northern region. The stores are spread across four formats that include high-street stores, mall stores, neighbourhood stores and hospital stores.

    According to the company’s estimates, the Indian pharmacy retail market is growing at a rate of 10-12 per cent annually. By the end of 2010, the size of the market is expected to touch the Rs 40,000 crore mark.