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Sunday, May 21, 2006

LifeKen announces entry into Chennai

Lifetime Healthcare Pvt Ltd, a leading player in organised pharma retail, has announced the launch of ‘LifeKen’, a leading chain of pharmacy retail outlets in Chennai. Currently, with four stores operational in Chennai and expanding rapidly, the company plans to establish 50 outlets in the next year and 200 stores by end of FY 2006-07 in three-four cities across south India and 700 stores over the next three years. An initial investment of Rs 40 crore would be used for the immediate expansion plans.

Speaking on the occasion of the launch of LifeKen, M C Kini, CEO, promoter and director of the company, said, "LifeKen is a facilitator for wellness of the customer. We would like to make buying of medicines a pleasant experience for the customer, by creating the right ambience and providing value-adding services. We aim to be present in 8-10 cities over the next five years, and plan to induce external funding at the 200-store level."

"We are convinced and excited about the size of the opportunity that pharma retail presents. The good thing is that there is space for everyone. For instance, Chennai has around 5,700 pharmacies and the share of organised pharma retail chains is just 120 outlets. We are targeting customers seeking retail experience in pharma and our growth can go hand-in-hand with the traditional pharmacies," Kini added.

A Suryanarayanan, COO, promoter and director, said, "We are encouraged by the initial response that we have got in Chennai and are eager to take the same organised pharma retail experience to other cities like Coimbatore and Hyderabad soon. We will be looking at specially designed programmes for consumers with special healthcare needs and a call centre support to our customers shortly."

LifeKen is positioned as a pharmacy that actively supports wellness and health for everyone, by being present in one’s own neighbourhood. The stores in Chennai are currently located at Porur, Kilpauk, Mogappair and Saidapet. An additional five stores are under finalisation for opening over the next two months.

The medicines are stored in a clean, hygienic and air-conditioned environment to maintain their potency and are offered at fair prices, Suryananarayanan said. LifeKen also offers customer loyalty programmes, free home delivery, health camps and wellness programmes free or at little cost to customers, among others. LifeKen retains a wide range of more than 12,000 products and, hence, assures availability at any given time.

The product range at LifeKen comprises:

Wide range of Allopathic medicines (prescription and OTC)
Select Ayurvedic brands
Dental care (including special medicated toothpastes)
Orthopedic products (such as knee caps, abdominal belts, collars)
Women care and baby vare
Hair care and skin care
Protection products (such as adult diapers)
Nutrition and toiletries

Recognising the fact that technology is at the heart of all organised retail in order to tie together customers and the supply chain across a range of stores, LifeKen has invested up-front in the finest technology for its business. In short, LifeKen aims to be a one-stop shop for all healthcare needs by being present in every neighbourhood, Suryanarayanan said.

LifeKen currently has 25 stores in Bangalore and four stores in Chennai and are expanding rapidly, says Suryanarayanan. They are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day, 365 days a year and offer other conveniences like free home delivery. They also plan to introduce night services shortly.

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