One school of thought has it that the key to successful grocery retailing is to offer everything under one roof. The other is that specialisation will lead you to conquer your own corner of the market. In the convenience world, retailers usually attempt to offer the broadest range possible in a small space with interesting extras thrown in to lift their offering from the run-of-the-mill. Hence phone cards, bus passes, Western Union, lottery tickets, ATMs, fax and photocopying and, in some cases, film labs, dry cleaning and cyber cafes. So when retailers ask me how to go about adding a travel agency or a pharmacy to their offering, I'm not all that surprised. A travel agency, by the way, is no longer recommended ­ internet shopping has staked a big claim on this one since people have shown they are happy to trawl the net for deals. But pharmacy, now that is interesting. Zak Sandhu, who runs Rawson News, a 2,000 sq ft store in Seaforth, Liverpool, has the space to expand by 1,000 sq ft and would like to put in a pharmacy. This makes sense for him because he is opposite a GP's surgery and the nearest chemist is half a mile away. But how to go about it? Well, this isn't a branch of high street life known for its hospitality to newcomers. It is both a difficult and bureaucratic area to broach. There are two ways of approaching the proposition ­ either buy an existing pharmacy and move it in-house, with the pharmacist (as a superstore might), or buy the pharmacy contract and employ a pharmacist to take responsibility for this part of the business. Either way you need to apply to the local health authority having established that there is a need for a pharmacy in your area. New contracts for pharmacies, I'm told, are like hen's teeth. And the pharmacist is the key because the application for the contract must come from the pharmacist. I notice that the Londis group has recently joined forces with Unichem, the pharmaceutical wholesaler, to develop a trading format for chemists who want to expand into convenience retailing. So far though, this would appear to be a one-way street. {{GROCER CLUB }}