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Superdrug pre-tax profit down 79%, while online pharmacy grows 132%

Superdrug was one of the first pharmacies to join the COVID-19 vaccination programme in January
Superdrug was one of the first pharmacies to join the COVID-19 vaccination programme in January

Superdrug has attributed its 79% decline in pre-tax profit in 2020 to the “severe impact of the pandemic”, while its online pharmacy services grew 132% over the same period.

Superdrug recorded a profit before tax of £18.8 million in the year to December 26, 2020, a decrease of 79% over 2019’s £89.4m, according to its full-year accounts, published on Companies House earlier this month (July 10).

While Superdrug remained open as an essential retailer throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it saw the temporary closure of 230 stores “during the first national lockdown” and witnessed a 75% decline in footfall, the accounts show.

As a result, revenue for the full year declined by 15% to £1,111m compared to £1,304m in 2019, Superdrug said.

Despite the “unprecedented and tough year”, Superdrug CEO Peter Macnab said he is “incredibly proud” of the company’s achievements.

“As an essential retailer, the most important thing is that our 788 stores were able to stay open to serve and support our colleagues, customers and communities through the pandemic,” he said.

“Our 198 in-store pharmacies ensured people had access to vital medicines throughout COVID-19.

While our established online doctor service, which offers more than 40 online healthcare services to its 1.6 million patients enabled customers to order treatment direct to their homes,” he explained.

Superdrug became one of the first pharmacy-led sites to join the COVID-19 vaccination programme in January, and had administered more than 100,000 COVID-19 jabs in the first half of this year, the company reported. As of July 21, there were 17 Superdrug branches offering the service, according to the NHS England and NHS Improvement list of approved sites.

Online activity grows

Superdrug witnessed a “significant increase in online trading” during 2020, including a 132% increase in the use of its online pharmacy services, it said.

The COVID-19 pandemic also “accelerated” the growth of the multiple’s online offering, and in 2020 it partnered with logistics firm ‘stuart’ to introduce a click-and-collect and same-day delivery service for selected postcodes. C+D has asked whether medicines deliveries are included in this service.

Last year, Superdrug closed 20 branches and opened seven – none of which included Superdrug pharmacies, according to the company’s financial accounts.

It plans to open 15 new stores in 2021. C+D has asked whether these will have in-store pharmacies.

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