Co-operative Group yesterday became the UK's fourth largest pharmacy chain after announcing deals to buy two regional chemist businesses.
Manchester-based Co-op will have a network of 429 branches after buying 30 drug stores from Gordon Davis, which operates in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, along with another ten from Raygale Chemists, which has sites in Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool.
The Co-operative Group, which did not reveal how much it paid for the two companies, signalled it may now look to add to the estate.
It said it had leapfrogged Rowlands to become the fourth largest chemist chain - behind Boots, Lloydspharmacy and Moss owner Alliance UniChem.
A spokesman confirmed 300 workers would be transferred to the new company.
Earlier this month Cooperative Group Pharmacy announced record sales of £294 million and operating profits of £16.1 million for the 12 months to January 2006. ..SUPL: