7/25/2023 | Pharmacies

Pharmacy Market Insight: Wales

In this blog post, Pharmacy Directors, Jon Booth and Jonathan Board, give an overview of the pharmacy market across North and South Wales.


Of the 715 pharmacies registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (as of 1 March 2023), nearly half of these (47%) are operated by independent contractors. Encouragingly, the appetite for such independent pharmacy opportunities continues unabated with a constant churn of businesses as new investors and operators see long-term confidence in the Welsh pharmacy sector. 

Whilst the pandemic years certainly presented challenges to the sector, beyond those seen in the wider economy, from drug shortages, funding, staffing and the general activity having increased due to more restricted GP access, many still see pharmacy as a safe haven for long-term investment and opportunity. 

More recently, the sector across Wales and the UK as a whole has seen large-scale disposals by several corporate operators, as they look to sell off what, in their eyes, have been marginal or non-performing assets. Due to their scale, their need to adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach places them at a disadvantage to independent operators who are able to dial into their local patient and community needs in delivering consistency, a more personalised approach to patient engagement, and a plethora of services. As such, where corporate disposals have taken place there has been a steady stream of independent operators eager to take over and develop the businesses further. 

Alongside corporate disposals, the independent sector has also fared well, with a range of opportunities currently available, from small independent single-asset sales to larger group opportunities operating a number of pharmacies within a tight geographical area. Offering consistency in terms of service, day-to-day management and staffing, such businesses offer more security to many looking to buy pharmacies. To add to this, the collaborative support the sector has seen from the Welsh Assembly, none more so than during the COVID-19 pandemic, when pharmacies do come to market interest is readily generated. 

A recent example of this is the sale of Hanfords Chemist Limited in Llansamlet, Swansea, which completed in May 2023. A busy health centre pharmacy, independently owned for the last 26 years, the pharmacy dispenses circa 18,400 items per month. The business was placed on the market in July 2022 which, after a brief marketing campaign, generated three offers. A sale was subsequently agreed to a regional independent group operator, in excess of the initial guide price. 

So, who is buying? Thanks to an abundance of stock on the market, we are seeing interest from both first-time buyers and new market entrants as well as existing operators looking to expand their portfolios. 

In the North, buyers are particularly interested in hotspots such as Llandudno and Wrexham whilst in the South, it is Cardiff given the capital’s high population and good transport links. The Welsh School of Pharmacy is also located in Cardiff, resulting in a wealth of industry professionals in the city. We are also seeing interest along the M4 from Newport through to Swansea with their relative accessibility through the main Motorway and A roads network. 

As featured in Welsh Pharmacy Review, issue 56 - 2023

If you would like to know more about the Welsh pharmacy market, or for a confidential chat about your pharmacy business, contact:
North Wales - Jon Booth: jon.booth@christie.com / 07703 607 122 
South Wales - Jonathan Board: jonathan.board@christie.com / 07775 807 071