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Watsons Philippines targets 200 community stores

Health and beauty retailer Watsons Philippines is about to start rolling out stores in communities, boosting its generic medicines offer.

Company executives say the goal is to open 80 stores this year and between 100 and 120 more in 2017.

Watsons Philippines group marketing manager Sharon Presbitero says the company wants its stores to be more accessible to the public given the boost in its health care products range.

“Our thrust right now is to strengthen our health business. We’ve been known in the Philippines as a beauty store. But our heritage, especially regionally, the brand started as a dispensary in China, as a pharmacy,” Presbitero said during a media conference to mark the opening of the chain;s 500th store last week.

“We want to go back to that heritage.”

While most Watsons Philippines stores are located in shopping malls, the plan is now to expand into high street locations, especially in suburban communities.

The company expects to have 530 stores trading by the end of 2016.

Besides a broad range of beauty products and cosmetics, Watsons stocks a growing range of generic medicines – both prescription products, over-the-counter medications and vitamins. Community stores will have a higher ratio of health care items to beauty lines, compared with mall-based stores.

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