As we reach the final months of 2020, it's impossible not to reflect on what an unprecedented year it's been. As we continue to navigate the pandemic, so many facets of business have been dramatically impacted. Industries such as travel, hospitality, and restaurants have experienced dramatic declines and halting recoveries, while on the opposite end of the spectrum, home improvement, real estate, and digital businesses have boomed as the population seeks safety, having shifted office work and recreation to their homes.

The retail sector has experienced both of these extremes, with some seeing strong sales while others have been forced into bankruptcy and liquidation.

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There was a time when grocery stores sold groceries and retail pharmacies sold prescription medicines, OTC (over the counter) and health & beauty. But over the years, grocery retailers have stretched into the pharmacy space looking to drive additional footfall and revenue. Yet while the strongest players in the US, such as Walmart and Kroger operate significant pharmacy operations, they still sit firmly in the single digits for pharmacy market share. Recent years have been especially tough on in-store pharmacies. With low prescription volumes and undifferentiated H&B categories, growth has stalled and even declined as the industry has evolved. As such, grocery-led pharmacy seemed destined to slowly fade away as a casualty of financial cuts and focus back to core offerings.

Enter the Coronavirus.

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