The Wellington CBD pharmacy scene is set for a shake up, with the arrival of a cut-price operator offering free prescriptions on all fully funded medications.
Aptly named, Bargain Chemist is opening its doors in April at 73 Manners St near the corner of Cuba St. It is the fourth in the steadily expanding Bargain Chemist network, including the online store.
Ty Dallas, associate director of retail leasing at Colliers in Wellington, who brokered the lease, said CBD retail space was limited for larger premises such as Bargain Chemist’s 452 sqm on Manners St.
“It’s becoming increasingly more challenging to secure large retail spaces in the city with 95% of the space in the CBD area leased. In Lambton Quay, the vacancy rate is now only 3%, the lowest vacancy rate in five years.”
It’s a year since Bargain Chemist opened its first store in Riccarton, Christchurch, and aims to have 30 stores nationwide by 2021.
Harry Zheng, the pharmacist manager, said a strategy of bulk buying and low margins meant savings of up to 50 per cent on perfumes, vitamins and a wide range of other pharmacy items. It will be open on all major public holidays, including Christmas Day.
“We have been paying a lot for pharmacy products and perfumes in New Zealand and we’re aiming to change that. Our mission at Bargain Chemist is to know that we are helping to change peoples lives by making healthcare more affordable.
“This is a shakeup not just for the pharmacy industry but also the retail industry as a whole. It’s a way for a 100% New Zealand-owned company to give its customers a bit of a break and offer them more competitive prices all round.”
With its goal to supply high-quality big brands at low prices, the company has proved very popular in and aims to change the way retail pharmacy is perceived.
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