Double-digit total revenue growth in the front end and the pharmacy drove a robust same-store sales gain at Walgreen Co. in January, with the monthly increase reaching a level that the drug store chain had not seen in over a year.


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Walgreens begins 2011 with strong same-store gain

February 3rd, 2011

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Double-digit total revenue growth in the front end and the pharmacy drove a robust same-store sales gain at Walgreen Co. in January, with the monthly increase reaching a level that the drug store chain had not seen in over a year.

Walgreens said Thursday that comparable-store sales in January (excluding Duane Reade) climbed 6.1%, well above the 2.8% same-store uptick in December. The increase also continued an improving trend in same-store sales, which edged up 3.2% in November following a 1.3% decline in October and smaller gains of 0.4% in September and 2.1% in August.

The last time Walgreens had reported a 5% increase in same-store sales was in September 2009, when comp-store sales rose 5.3%.

January 2011 comp-store sales reflected a 0.7 percentage point positive impact from calendar day shifts, as well as same-store increases of 4.5% in the front end and 6.9% in the pharmacy, according to Walgreens. Customer traffic in comparable stores rose 2.4%, and basket size increased 2.1%.

In the pharmacy, same-store sales included a 1.1 percentage point positive impact from calendar day shifts and a 2.9 percentage point negative impact from generic drug introductions in the last 12 months, Walgreens reported.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased 6.3% in January, reflecting positive impacts of 1.1 percentage points from calendar day shifts and 1.6 percentage points from a higher incidence of flu, the company said. Fewer flu shots negatively impacted prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 1.3 percentage points during the month. Flu shots administered season-to-date at Walgreens pharmacies and Take Care clinics totaled more than 6.3 million.

Overall in January, Walgreens turned in sales of $5.93 billion, up 11.3% from $5.33 billion a year earlier. Duane Reade stores contributed 2.8 percentage points to the total sales increase for the month, the retailer said. Front-end revenue rose 11.5% and pharmacy sales climbed 10.8% in January.

Walgreens said fiscal 2011 year-to-date sales for the first five months were $30.1 billion, up 7.3% from $28 billion in the prior-year period.

During January, Walgreens opened 13 drug stores, relocated two stores, acquired three stores and closed one store. As of Jan. 31, the company operated 7,670 drug stores, 506 more than a year ago, including 297 stores acquired over the last 12 months.

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