Walgreen Co. saw same-store sales rise in October as front-end business continued to rebound amid a strong gain in overall revenue.


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Walgreens' front-end sales revival continues in October

November 3rd, 2009

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreen Co. saw same-store sales rise in October as front-end business continued to rebound amid a strong gain in overall revenue.

Comparable-store sales for the month climbed 4.9%, the drug store chain said Tuesday. That increase was slightly less than the 5.3% gain in September but noticeably better than the respective 1.9% and 2% increases in August and July.

In the front end of the store, same-store sales rose 4.7% in October, building on the 2% front-end gain in September, which followed declines of 1.3% in August and July.

Comparable-pharmacy sales increased 5% during October, down from a 7% rise in September. Walgreens saw a positive impact of 1 percentage point in October due to seasonal flu shots, compared with 2.4 percentage points in September. The retailer noted that October comparable-pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 2.2 percentage points as a result of generic drug introductions in the last 12 months.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores escalated 8.6% in October, including a positive impact of 2.4 percentage points due to flu shots and 1.3 percentage points from more patients filling 90-day prescriptions, Walgreens reported.

The impact of calendar day shifts had a negative impact on results in October, which had one less Wednesday and one extra Saturday versus a year ago, the chain said. Calendar shifts negatively impacted total same-store sales by 1.1 percentage points, comparable-pharmacy sales by 1.7 percentage points and prescriptions filled in comparable stores by 1.7 percentage points.

Total revenue in October came in at $5.65 billion, up 9.4% from $5.16 billion a year earlier. October pharmacy sales rose 9.3%.

For the calendar year-to-date, sales totaled $53.28 billion, an increase of 7.6% from $49.51 billion in the prior-year period. 

Walgreens said that during October it opened 69 stores, including eight relocations. As of Oct. 31, the chain operated 7,105 drug stores, 562 more than a year ago, including 66 stores acquired over the last 12 months.

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