Betterlife’s steady sales fail to offset sharp profit drop

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Betterlife Healthcare remained consistent in 2018, shifting £23.8m of stock – just 0.4% less than in the previous year – but its profits suffered.

The retailer’s sales have remained steady over the last five years, growing from £21.4m in 2014 to nearly £24m in the year ended 31 March 2018, according to company reports.

However, growth in its physical channels in 2018 failed to offset a reduction in online sales and intercompany sales while competitive retail pricing meant gross profits declined 30% in 2018.

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Meanwhile, operating profits fell to under £10,000 compared to more than £1.5m in 2017.

Betterlife, which is a sister brand to high street chain, LloydsPharmacy, maintains in its latest report that steady sales in 2018 helped it to retain its position as a “key online retailer” in the sector.

The company plans to develop new sales channels this year and increase its wholesale business on a global scale. It already supplies independent living aids to other dealers in the industry.

According to its annual report, Betterlife will continue to focus on building its brand, work towards a “comprehensive multi-channel product offer” and establish “an aggressive but sustainable tier pricing approach to gross profit”.

Betterlife’s parent group, McKesson, had a challenging year in 2018 which saw it close and sell around 190 LloydsPharmacy stores and shut two Betterlife shops.

The firm said that the stores closures came as it found “new ways to evolve in order to achieve excellence in quality, range of products and convenience.”

A new CEO joined the group in May and towards the end of last year, McKesson – formerly Celesio UK – rebranded.

Image: Betterlife Healthcare Ltd

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Joe Peskett

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