ICA announces in-store pharmacy plans

Swedish retailer ICA has announced plans to open 100 pharmacies across the country.

The first stores will open in the spring of 2010 and will sell both prescription and non-prescription drugs, according to a company press release.

The company expressed confidence in the pharmacy market, which was opened up to free market competition on July 1st 2009, ending the state-run Apoteket chain’s monopoly.

“We see great possibilities in the new market. When our discussions over a partnership with Apoteket could not continue, we have decided to open under our own management,” Kenneth Bengtsson, ICA CEO said.

The pharmacies will be located in existing ICA stores and will be operated and owned by the firm, a so-called shop-in-shop solution.

“Our ambition is to open around 100 stores in the Swedish market in the longer term,” Bengtsson said.

The second stage of the pharmacy monopoly deregulation, set to take effect on November 1st, will allow grocery stores and other retail outlets to sell certain non-prescription drugs to customers over the age of 18.

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