Pharmacy battle ahead in Philippines

Just one week after Dairy Farm International bought a controlling stake in an established Filipino pharmacy chain, its archrival AS Watson says it is continuing with an ambitious expansion program.

Watson and Dairy Farm, both based in Hong Kong, are the dominant players in the pharmacy and beauty care sector across Asia, the only major rival being UK-based Boots which has a strong market share in Thailand.

Watson Personal Care Stores (Phil) last week marked the opening of its 400th store in the Philippines and says it plans to open five more this year and 50 more in 2015. Part of the growth will come via the mall developer SM – three quarters of its stores are located inside SM centres and SM Retail Group owns 60 per cent of the joint venture with AS Watson holding the balance.

The 400th Watsons opened in the new SM Savemore.

Watsons beauty trading director Reena V. Rodrigo says her company is “upbeat” about its growth prospects.

“Within the year, we will be opening five more stores in the Philippines. Many of our new branches are in the Visayas and Mindanao area. Areas outside Metro Manila and Luzon have been posting high double-digit growth,” she said.

Globally, Watsons operates more than 4000 stores and more than 1000 pharmacies in 12 Asian and European markets, including Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Korea, Indonesia, Turkey and Ukraine.



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