3/21/2024 | Pharmacies

Pharmacy Market Insight: North of England

In this blog, Tom Young, Business Agent – Medical at Christie & Co shares his insight into the current pharmacy market in the North of England.


Image: Mangopear Creative for Unsplash

What’s on the market?

There is a good mix of pharmacies on our register right now, from smaller pharmacies that dispense sub 5,000 items through to ones that dispense over 15,000.  

The significant amount of corporate stock we saw in the market throughout 2023 due to large corporate disposals subsided to the latter end of 2023 for the time being, heralding a renewed appetite and focus for independent pharmacy opportunities from motivated buyers

The sale of 34 Whitworth Chemists Ltd pharmacies, which was first launched in November 2023, is a notable instruction that we are dealing with in the North.  All 34 assets are now under offer to a variety of buyers ranging from first-time buyers to large regional groups, which underlines the buyer appetite in the region. Many of these sites had multiple offers, with some sites in areas such as Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire attracting bids from nearly 10 buyers, so it has been really competitive.

Whilst there have been fewer corporate disposals in the year to date, there are also many independent sales, genuine retirement sales, and a mix of multiple operators continuing to review their portfolios to identify marginal or nonperforming branches. We are seeing a robust response from buyers on most opportunities we take to market as long as pricing is correct.

In Yorkshire, bigger cities such as Leeds, Sheffield and Bradford, are where we’re seeing the most buyer activity, and in the Northwest, we’re seeing good levels of buyer activity throughout Greater Manchester.

Buyer appetite

There is strong interest from first-time buyers, and those looking to expand their portfolios by buying a second or third site.

Two good examples of varied buyer types would be the sales of Higher Crumpsall Pharmacy and Pelican Pharmacy, both in Greater Manchester. Higher Crumpsall Pharmacy, a community pharmacy that dispenses circa 1,000 items per month, was acquired by Pharmacist, Nissar Ahmed, who planned to combine it with his online pharmacy business. Pelican Pharmacy, a standard-hours community pharmacy in Altrincham which dispenses circa 4,000 items per month, was recently acquired by first-time buyer, Kiruba Kamal Raj, who intends to run the business with her son.

These are notable examples of the demand we’re seeing for good-quality pharmacies in the North, and that for every pharmacy there is a different, ideal buyer if you approach the market in the right way.

The market in 2024

So far this year, we have been very busy with viewings and dealing with offers that have led to deals being agreed on both newer stock and some of the stock that wasn’t gaining much traction in the 2nd half of last year. Judging by the activity we have already witnessed in the first quarter of 2024 we remain confident of a busy year ahead.

Based out of our Leeds office, Tom Young specialises in the sale of pharmacies across the North and North West of England.

To find out more about the pharmacy market in the North of England, or to have a confidential chat about your business, contact Tom Young: tom.young@christie.com / +44 7831 133 642