A new pharmacy has taken an unusual approach to increased competition in the drugstore market - offering in-house Botox and a duty free service.

Pharmville, which opened on Auckland's Queen St in December, is offering spa facilities including facials, manicures and no GST on supplements and vitamins for those travelling overseas.

Pharmville manager Eddie Yu said the firm set out to be different from the outset.

"We didn't want to be just another pharmacy that offers medicine and health supplements, we wanted to be a store where tourists can come," Yu said. "We have a beauty clinic in the pharmacy offering what most beauty clinics do; facials, manicures, eye lash extensions, microdermabrasion and even Botox and fillers."


Yu said the pharmacy was not fazed by Australian retail giant Chemist Warehouse, which opened its first store offering reduced prices on typical pharmacy goods and free prescriptions last year.

Unichem and Life Pharmacy are its biggest competitors, but Yu said he was glad Chemist Warehouse didn't have a CBD store.

"The pharmacy space in New Zealand is getting really competitive. As we're on Queen St we have Unichem and Life Pharmacy beside us and a few more health stores that sell a very similar range of products, so people do walk around comparing prices."

First Retail Group managing director Chris Wilkinson said the only way a new entrant would succeed in the market was to find distinct points of difference.

"More and more established pharmacies are adding beauty treatments and other health services as a way to increase relevance, build goodwill and increase average sale values," Wilkinson said.

"Within the next five years we believe all traditional pharmacies will have to have some form of treatment offer as a core part of their business, in order to remain sustainable."

Inside Pharmville's spa facility. Photo / Supplied
Inside Pharmville's spa facility. Photo / Supplied

He said Queen St was a tough location for a pharmacy business to operate in.

"One of the challenges with the site they have chosen is a lack of strong visibility of their retail offer from the street. This may be another reason why they've prioritised services over products."


Pharmville's long-term plan is to open more stores in Auckland.