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STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Boots Pharmaceutical Enterprises, the partnership between the U.K. pharmacy chain Boots and local operator Pharmaceutical Enterprises, in the next two months is expected to open the first of 100 pharmacies across Sweden, according to a report in The Local, an English-language Swedish newspaper.
”We are busy recruiting candidates and finding premises here in Sweden,” Sverker Littorin, Pharmaceutical Enterprises chairman told the newspaper. “Everything is on track, even though it is several months later than we had hoped.”
Initially the partnership, announced in July 2010, had targeted fall 2010 for the first store opening. Boots Pharmaceutical Enterprises is planning 100 pharmacy openings — each individually owned and operated by entrepreneurs — in the next three years. According to Lennart Axelsson, Pharmaceutical Enterprises CEO, the opening of new locations should quickly ramp from there. “The response from contractors has been great,” he said in July. “In the current situation, there are more than 100 entrepreneurs who want to start the Boots Pharmacy, and some of them have been very far along in the process. It allows us to get started quickly."
Competition across the retail pharmacy industry in Sweden has intensified in the past two years since the Swedish government privatized what previously had been a state-owned pharmacy sector in November 2009. As part of that initiative, Sweden had sold more than half of its 900 Apoteket pharmacies.
Since the privatization of the industry, retail pharmacy locations have grown by 22%, according to The Local, which cited the Swedish Competition Authority. Along with the proposed 100 new stores from Boots Pharmaceutical Enterprises, Apoteket Hjärtat plans to similarly open 100 new locations in the next few years, the paper reported.