Same-store sales remained on the upswing in October at Walgreen Co., as the drug chain saw results rise in the front end and the pharmacy.


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Walgreens' same-store sales gain in October

November 5th, 2013

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Same-store sales remained on the upswing in October at Walgreen Co., as the drug chain saw results rise in the front end and the pharmacy.

Walgreens said Tuesday that comparable-store sales for October climbed 5.8%, reflecting negative impacts of 0.3 percentage point from calendar day shifts (one extra Thursday and one fewer Monday) and 0.7 percentage point from the introduction of new generic drugs, which carry lower prices but higher profit margins than branded prescription drugs.

In the front end, comp-store sales rose 2.3% in October. Customer traffic in comparable stores edged up 0.6% for the month — the drug chain's first increase since September 2011 — while basket size grew 1.7%.

Comparable pharmacy sales for October advanced 7.9% and on a calendar day-shift adjusted basis were up 8.4%, according to Walgreens. Calendar day shifts negatively impacted comparable pharmacy results by 0.5 percentage point. Calendar day-shift adjusted comparable pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 1 percentage point from new generics but got a lift of 0.7 percentage point from more flu shots versus a year ago.

Prescription count at comparable stores gained 5.7% in October and was up 6.2% on a calendar day-shift adjusted basis. Walgreens said calendar shifts negatively impacted prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 0.5 percentage point. The chain added that same-store script count was positively impacted by 1.1 percentage points from more flu shots versus last year but reflects a negative impact of 0.2 percentage point from a lower incidence of flu in this year's October.

Walgreens reported that flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics season to date totaled over 4.9 million, compared with about 3.6 million a year ago.

Total October sales came in at $6.37 billion, up 6.1% from $6 billion a year earlier. Revenue grew 3.5% in the front end and 7.8% in the pharmacy, which accounted for 65.5% of overall October sales.

Calendar 2013 sales to date were $60.47 billion, up 4.3% from $57.97 billion in the prior-year period. Fiscal 2014 year-to-date sales, covering the first two months, totaled $12.29 billion, a gain of 7% from $11.49 billion a year earlier.

Walgreens said it opened 14 drug stores during October, including four relocations, and closed two stores. As of Oct. 31, the chain operated 8,131 drug stores, 101 more than a year ago, including five net stores acquired in the last 12 months.

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