Clicks expands national footprint with opening of 600th pharmacy
Clicks, South Africa’s largest retail pharmacy chain, has opened its 600th pharmacy at Nicolway Shopping Centre in Bryanston, Johannesburg. This forms part of the group’s long-term goal to expand its national footprint to 900 stores in South Africa, with a pharmacy operating in every store.
The group currently consists of 757 Clicks stores, of which 600 have in-store pharmacies, situated throughout the country. Chief Commercial Officer at Clicks, Rachel Wrigglesworth, says the group’s focus continues to be on ensuring convenient customer access to affordable healthcare through an ever-expanding network of Clicks pharmacies. These are supported by the group’s pharmaceutical wholesaler, UPD, as well as Clicks Direct Medicines, the group’s courier business, which enables penetration into outlying areas.
“Clicks’ expanding national footprint is evidenced by the fact that 51% of South Africans currently live within five kilometres of a Clicks store, and within six kilometres of a Clicks pharmacy. One in four medicines currently sold in South Africa are from a Clicks pharmacy,” adds Wrigglesworth, adding that robust sales growth, coupled with the expansion of its store and pharmacy footprint has allowed Clicks to grow its market share across all merchandising categories.
Further capital investments of more than R700 million are planned for the year ahead, focusing on both the group’s store and pharmacy network, as well as retail and distribution infrastructure.
Clicks pharmacies’ growing success relies on quality professional advice, low dispensing fees, a wide range of generic substitutes and a comprehensive range of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, which services a growing trend of more health and lifestyle conscious consumers who are increasingly opting for preventative rather than curative medicine.
In recent years Clicks has introduced a number of innovations, including an integrated pharmacy services solution which allows customers to submit scripts, view their medication history and order active script repeats from their phone via the Clicks app. These repeat scripts are processed and ready for collection in under four hours or delivered to the customer’s door. It has also introduced free delivery of chronic medication to customers and sends out reminders to customers, emphasising the importance of taking medication as advised. Over the counter medication can be ordered online and then collected at the customer’s closest Clicks Pharmacy. In addition, the Clicks Virtual Doctor offers doctor consultations via video call at Clicks Clinics for only R300, offering customers both convenience and affordability.
Clicks is currently the largest employer of pharmacists in the private sector. Given the scarcity of pharmacists currently in the country, the group has partnered with universities to create a pipeline of qualified pharmacists through the establishment of a bursary programme.
In 2020 Clicks invested R 6,434,735 in bursaries for 116 students studying a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree. Each year it also provides opportunities for students completing internship programmes.
A proudly South African brand, the first Clicks store was opened in Cape Town in 1968. Although the store was originally conceived as a drugstore, it was only in 2004 that legislation allowed it to open its first pharmacy.