Lloyds buys newsagents from C&C receivers

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The Independent Online
LLOYDS CHEMISTS, the chain of pharmacists built up by Allen Lloyd, has bought 89 newsagents from the receivers to Cavendish & Castle.

The 89 outlets, selected from C&C's portfolio of 140 shops, cost less than pounds 5m. They have been earmarked for conversion either to Holland & Barrett healthfood shops or to Supersave drugstores, both owned by Lloyds.

Allen Lloyd, chairman, stressed that his company was not planning to enter the newsagency business but would trade the profitable outlets as they were until conversion, expected to be completed within 18 months.

Lloyds has grown swiftly by acquisition during the past three years. In prescription chemist shops, with 864 outlets, it is second to Boots.

The shops bought yesterday will be added in equal measure to the Holland & Barrett and Supersave parts of the operation.

The C&C purchase comes less than six months after Lloyds bought Macarthy's, another chemist chain for pounds 96m.

The shares fell 6p to 280p as the stock market digested the news.

Lloyds' shares have fallen in the past 10 days as fears have spread about changes to pricing of NHS drugs to chemists.

Mr Lloyd said yesterday that chemists' profit margins were under constant pressure from the Government, but efficiencies were to be won else where.

Lloyds' own stockbroker, Panmure Gordon, said the price list changes would be broadly neutral.

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