The spectacular rise of the big box retailer continued unabated this year as revenue topped $207 million, up 15 per cent on the previous year's $180 million.The most impressive part of the Goodprice narrative is that the focus this year was foremost on investing in head office infrastructure, rather than growth but it came anyway.
It is important to remember this is no overnight story; Yap has been carefully building this business since 2001, with the first Good Price Pharmacy arriving two years later at Cannon Hill.These results have been achieved against a backdrop of soft retail conditions in the pharmacy industry, making it extremely pleasing for Yap.
"We still expect significant growth against this trend," says Yap. "We are looking for our 13th-consecutive year of double-digit growth and are aiming for just over 10 per cent growth (this year) to approximately $230 million (turnover)."One of Yap's great strengths is not only his ability to grow a business, but to keep that growth under control and understand the infrastructure the business will need to fuel the growth into the future.
"It is important to remember the engine behind growth comes from the infrastructure behind the business," says Yap.He and Luu have invested heavily in each of the business' five divisions: marketing, business development, category management, human resources, finance and IT.
Luu, who has responsibility for the company's 750-strong workforce, implemented a company-wide training program, called the Good Price Academy and streamlined the payroll system as part of the HR overhaul. There is now an in-store trainer specifically focused on stock management."We believe you need to invest in staff get best out of them and we continue to create opportunities for them within the company," says Yap.
"We have moved over the past few years from a predominantly company-owned brand to focused on franchising we realise with franchising comes demand for support and we believe investing in this support infrastructure will help the developing franchise network."The group intranet was given a significant upgrade, optimising information transfer between stores and head office, while the quality of reports sent to each store was improved.
Focus was also applied to developing better category management systems, better in-store systems and procedures, a greater focus on advertising and promoting of key categories and products, while creating stronger partnerships with suppliers.Meanwhile, Good Price opened four new warehouse stores in the past 12 months, including two in South Australia and another in Western Australia, and also purchased five non-branded stores which will become a Good Price Pharmacy when the right infrastructure is in place.
"Pharmacies are location specific, so we buy pharmacies in suitable locations when they become available and they become an affiliate and are put in the pipeline to become a branded store," says Yap."We don't want to expand too quickly to ensure we had the right systems and processes in place to support the franchise network."
Franchising began in 2009 we started franchising the brand to independent pharmacists to allow them to compete with other big retailers such as supermarkets and discount department stores."Traditional pharmacies rely heavily on prescription revenue and are traditionally weak in their retail offer," says Yap.
"The Good Price Pharmacy brand is very retail focused, and it concentrates a lot of its marketing on its front of shop items.In the next 12 months Yap and Luu will actively seek to increase franchise store numbers, and improve like-for-like store sales.
Of course, all this was achieved with the support of the entire Good Price Pharmacy team."You need to recognise your limitations as you cannot do everything yourself, and surround yourself with people who have the skills to get the job done. The three key ingredients that we have found to help our success Passion, Persistence and most importantly People," says Yap.
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