Expansion for Lloyds Chemists

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LLOYDS Chemists, the high- growth pharmaceuticals wholesaler and retailer, is planning further regional expansion of its chemist and health goods store chains with another 100 retail outlets expected to open this year.

The announcement accompanied results that saw profits in the year to 30 June increase 17 per cent to pounds 58.3m.

Turnover increased 17 per cent to pounds 939.7m. The company emphasised the success of the veterinary division, which saw a 33 per cent increase in turnover to pounds 60m and a 75 per cent increase in pre-tax profits to pounds 3.5m.

The board proposes to increase the final dividend to 6.8p, taking the total to 9.5p, an increase of 31 per cent. The total dividend is covered three and half times by attributable profit.

Less impressive was the growth in the pharmaceutical division. Turnover growth of 33 per cent was accompanied by margins falling from 8.7 per cent to 8.1 per cent.

Peter Lloyd, chairman, denied margins were being squeezed by increased competition, and said this reflected the change in emphasis from high-margin, low- turnover ethical goods to low-margin, high-turnover health goods.