Pricewatch: 9 February, 2018 - over the counter medicine

Analysis

More than 40% of retailers we surveyed this week charged the £2.99 Booker RRP for a packet of Strepsils Honey & Lemon. Only 12% charged 40p over this, while 1.2% went above £4. The data shows some retailers still see demand for over-the-counter medicine even when they price above RRP. 

 

Retailers in our survey reflected these trends. Those with tough competition on the high street chose to stick to RRP to avoid scaring customers away. Others felt medicine was enough of an essential item – especially during winter when shoppers are more susceptible to illness – to aim for higher margins. 

 

Profit checker

PRICE Price distribution %

Price checker

AVERAGE UK RETAIL PRICE BOOKER RRP C-STORE IN MODEREN RESIDENTIAL SUBURB OF DUNDEE C-STORE IN SMALL NORTH WALES VILLAGE HIGH STREET NEIGHBOURHOOD STORE ON OUTSKIRTS OF LARGE LANCASHIRE TOWN SMALL VILLAGE STORE AND POST OFFICE IN WORCESTERSHIRE VILLAGE C-STORE IN RESIDENTIAL SUBURB OF NORWICH LOCAL SHOP IN NORTHERN SCOTTISH COASTAL VILLAGE
CALPOL SUGAR FREE SUSPENSION LIQUID 100ML £3.97 £4.09 £4.09 £4.09 £4.09 £4.09 £4.09 £4.20
HAPPY SHOPPER PARACETAMOL CAPLETS 16-PACK £83.00 £1.15 - £69.00 £99.00 £69.00 £75.00 £80.00
LEMSIP COLD & FLU ORIGINAL HOT LEMON POWDER 5-PACK £2.77 £3.99 £2.49 - £2.99 £2.49 - £2.59
LEMSIP MAXIMUM STRENGTH CAPSULES 8-PACK £3.12 £2.89 £2.99 £2.89 - - £3.15 -
LEMSIP COLD & FLU MAXIMUM STRENGTH POWDER 5-PACK £3.97 £3.69 £3.99 £4.16 £3.99 - £4.19 £4.09
HAPPY SHOPPER IBUPROFEN TABLETS 16-PACK £88.00 £65.00 - £89.00 £99.00 £79.00 £1.00 £69.00
CALPOL SIX PLUS BOTTLE 80ML £4.00 £4.09 £4.09 £4.09 £4.09 £4.09 £4.09 £4.20
COVONIA COUGH MIXTURE 150ML £3.88 £3.79 £3.79 £3.99 - £3.79 £3.89 £3.99
STREPSILS HONEY & LEMON 16-PACK £3.14 £2.99 £3.39 £2.99 - £2.99 £2.99 £2.99
NUROFEN TABLETS 12-PACK £2.65 £2.69 - - £2.69 £2.69 - -
BENYLIN CHESTY ADULT 150ML £5.45 £5.99 - £5.99 - £5.99 £5.99 -
NUROFEN EXPRESS CAPLETS 12-PACK £3.58 £3.49 £3.39 - £3.99 - - £3.49
-
Data supplied by
Data supplied by

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How we drive our profits

Raaj Chandarana Avatar

Raaj Chandarana

Londis

Location: High Wycombe

Size: 650sq ft

Type: neighbourhood

Top Tip
Make sure you’re well stocked on products like medicine because they can sell very quickly
Strepsils are seen as an essential medicinal item and we can afford to charge more than the RRP for them. We make a margin of 35% on each packet we sell, and I like to shop around at different wholesalers for these products to find better prices and ensure we make the best margins. We boost sales even further by doing simple things such as displaying products horizontally so customers can read labels properly, placing them at eye level, while also showing the price. Customers are more likely to buy a product if they know the price, even if it is at a premium.
Anish Parekh Avatar

Anish Parekh

Londis Broadoak & Post Office

Location: Ashton-Under-Lyne

Size: residential

Type: 1,000sq ft

Top Tip
Always buy more stock than you need during winter. Medicine has a long shelf life
We charge 50p above RRP and make margins of 31% as a result. Our shoppers see medicine as an important item, and this is especially true in winter when customers are more likely to be ill and not bothered about paying extra for something that could make them better. We normally sell a case of 12 every three weeks in winter. I recommend shopping around, too. I mainly get my stock from Londis, but I also go to Booker, Parfetts, Bestway and Costco. I’ve sometimes been able to get £3 off the normal warehouse price and this obviously means I can get better margins.
Julie Atkinson Avatar

Julie Atkinson

Hollins Green Community Store

Location: Warrington

Size: 550sq ft

Type: village store

Top Tip
Put medicines in a prominent place so customers can find them instantly
We have the advantage of being the only convenience store in the area and there is a lot of demand for medicines as a result. We could charge higher because of this, but we stick to RRP because we get enough footfall and our margins are normally at least 21%. Cough sweets are very good sellers in the winter as well – we sell an average 26 packets per week during this period, which makes it a popular product for us. The customer base for these is quite varied as well, because our customers are everyone from young children all the way up to the elderly.
James Brundle Avatar

James Brundle

Eat 17

Location: Bishop’s Stortford

Size: 5,000sq ft

Type: high street

Top Tip
Have different price points, even with medicine. You can attract more shoppers with a wider range
We stock a lot of specialist and locally-sourced products, but this doesn’t mean we can’t sell essentials like toiletries or over-the-counter medicine too. They’re items people look for all the time and it makes sense to keep them in our overall range. We’re a Spar, so we get a lot of products from Blakemore. The store is particularly competitive, not just for food and groceries, but also for medicine because there’s a Boots just down the road. For this reason, we charge RRP because we don’t want to scare away customers by charging a higher price than the competition.

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