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Organised pharma retail looks up in Punjab

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With new players coming in, the organised retail pharma market is looking up in Punjab. While a leading pharmaceutical chain Guardian Lifecare set up base in the state in late 2009, another player Surya Pharmaceuticals is set to enter the market soon. The Rs 2,000-crore Punjab pharma market has approximately 30,000 chemist shops. The major players in the sector that are changing the look of neighbourhood chemist stores are Fortis Healthworld along with Aadhaar Pharmacies and Apollo stores. Apollo Pharmacy has 10 stores in the state and has plans to further expand in Punjab.

The 1,000-crore Chandigarh-based Surya Pharmaceutical Limited has plans to set up over 500 healthcare and pharma retail stores under the brand Viva. The group plans to investment Rs 300 crore on the venture and will come up with 50 stores in Punjab within this year. Stores ranging from 150 sft to 1,000 sft would sell medicines as well as health and fitness products.

Chief executive officer of the company Rajender Jain said, “The total market size in organised pharma retail is miniscule. The space is actually vast and has enough room for resource-rich companies to settle in.”

This seems to have been the driving force for Guardian Lifecare that has entered into the Punjab market by opening three stores recently. The company will pump in Rs.20 crore for setting up a chain of 20 stores in pharma, nutrition, beauty and wellness segments in the state within a year. The average size of the store is placed between 500 and 1,000 sq.ft. The stores are being set up in five formats of the company, including high street stores, mall stores, in neighbourhood, in hospitals and shop-in-shop.

The chairman and managing director of Guardian Lifecare Ashutosh Garg said, “We had conducted a formal research in Punjab and discovered the pharma market to be large. The consumer would welcome an organised pharmacy retail chain here. Moreover, pharmaceutical retailing business in India is pegged at Rs.50,000 crore and organised sector has only four per cent share while the majority of the retailers are in the unorganised segment. There is a lot of scope to grow in the organised sector”.

Guardian Lifecare is a five-year-old retail chain of health, beauty and wellness stores with the workforce of 1,200 people. The company has more than 180 stores in the country and currently operates in 24 cities in North, East and West India. The company expects revenues of Rs.250 crore in (2009-10) FY10 as against Rs.100 crore in (2008-09) FY09.

Talking about the strengths of the company, Garg said, “More than 175 SKUs of Guardian Brands are available in our stores. Our private label offers generic medicines, herbal juices, Ayurvedic and health care products, personal hygiene, ortho support and beauty products. We have exclusive franchisee rights of GNC—America’s largest selling nutritional supplements company. Besides, we have the finest botanical beauty products from Yves Rocher, France.”

According to Garg, health supplements are selling more than the beauty care products. Garg also informed that there is a huge demand for herbal products.

Source: The Financial Express

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