Pharmacy Operating Revenue declined by 6% in the year primarily due to the impact of COVID-19 and the reduced ability of customers to shop in-store during the various COVID-19 alert levels. Operating Profit for the Pharmacy division declined 4% to $24.1m.
Same store retail revenue was down 18% year on year due to compressed retail spending, particularly in shopping mall, Auckland CBD and Wellington CBD stores, which typically represent 70% of retail revenue. During lockdowns, while our pharmacies were open, this was often with building access restrictions and customer demand for retail products was limited, particularly given a much reduced prevalence of cold and flu cases in the community as New Zealanders stayed home to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.
Dispensary revenue was more resilient, finishing in line with last year, supported by temporary changes to repeat dispensing rules which increased repeat dispensing volumes. The number of flu vaccinations delivered by our pharmacies more than doubled year-on-year as our team improvised under the various alert level settings, including administering vaccines via drive-throughs to maximise social distancing and prioritise the health and safety of our staff and our customers.
Of our nationwide network of 357 pharmacies, as at 31 March 2021 we held an investment interest in 88. The two new Karori Pharmacies acquired in February 2020 traded for the full period, and we acquired investment interests in three pharmacies in Cambridge at the end of the period. In line with our focus on optimising our Pharmacy portfolio we closed three pharmacies during the year. This optimisation strategy will continue into the next period, both in terms of closures where we are unable to align operating costs, and strategic acquisition opportunities.
As an essential service, our pharmacies remained open over the lockdown periods to service patients and their local communities during challenging and uncertain times. COVID-19 saw our pharmacies innovate their practices; offering home delivery prescription services to their communities and rapidly adopting new electronic, paper-less prescription solutions. These changes were not without their challenges and costs, particularly with collecting the $5 Government-mandated prescription copayment from patients who received contactless delivery of prescriptions.
We actively represent our pharmacies as a lead Sector Representative in various negotiations with funders. We have raised concerns about ongoing pharmacist workforce sustainability, wage cost pressures and relativity, along with the inadequacy of Government funding for vital patient services.
We are encouraged by the Government’s announcements regarding proposed health reforms, especially the increased emphasis on primary healthcare funding and the expanded role pharmacists can play in supporting the health of their communities.