Wednesday, 1st August 2012
Almost half of pharmacists less optimistic about business prospects
Almost half of pharmacists (40%) say they are less optimistic about their business prospects than they were three months ago, while some 57% of the pharmacists surveyed believe the business environment is getting worse, a survey by the Irish Pharmacy Union, which represents 1,800 pharmacists across the country reveals.
Almost one pharmacist in every three indicated that their business costs have increased in the last quarter. This is primarily due to energy costs, waste charges, commercial rates and rents. One in eight pharmacists surveyed said they had managed to reduce costs.
Sales and footfall have fallen in many pharmacies over the last three month period. More than 4 in 10 pharmacists say they have suffered a reduction in sales and over half believe sales will fall further over the next quarter.
However, the survey shows that most pharmacists managed to maintain employment levels over the last quarter with three quarters of pharmacists saying that there has been no change in the number of people they employ. One in four pharmacists, however, expects to reduce employment numbers over the next quarter.
"This survey shows that community pharmacies are not immune to the economic downturn and are faced with the same challenges as other small businesses. The level of confidence in the sector not surprisingly is low due to a reduction in consumer demand, economic uncertainty and an increase in business costs. The excessive cost environment, in particular draconian rents and exorbitant local charges, including commercial rates, remains an area of concern. These costs are having a devastating impact on pharmacies throughout the Country, with no action being taken by Government to address this issue." said Rory O'Donnell, President of the Irish Pharmacy Union.
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