Walgreen Co. saw little change in its same-store sales for August, posting only a small gain due to weak front-end results.


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August same-store sales edge up at Walgreens

September 2nd, 2009

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreen Co. saw little change in its same-store sales for August, posting only a small gain due to weak front-end results.

The drug store chain said Wednesday that comparable-store sales inched up 1.9% in August, a bit less than the 2% increase in July.

On the front end, same-store sales dipped 1.3% in August, the same decline as in the previous month. Walgreens said business in that part of the store continues to be weighed down by sluggish sales of discretionary items amid the still-fragile economy.

Comparable-pharmacy sales in August rose 3.8%, just as they had in July. The chain noted that generic drug introductions over the last 12 months negatively impacted comparable-pharmacy sales by 2.2 percentage points.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased 4.8% in August, including 2 percentage points due to more patients filling 90-day prescriptions, according to Walgreens.

Calendar day shifts during the month gave a slight boost to same-store results, since August had an extra Monday and one less Friday versus a year ago, the retailer added. Calendar shifts positively impacted total comparable-store sales by 0.4 percentage points, comparable-pharmacy sales by 0.6 percentage points and prescriptions filled in comparable stores by 0.6 percentage points.

Overall sales climbed 6.8% to $5.23 billion in August, fueled by an 8.1% gain in pharmacy revenue during the month, Walgreens reported.

For the year to date through August, total sales are up 7.1% to $42.28 billion from $39.49 billion in the year-ago period.

Walgreens closed out fiscal 2009 on August 31, with overall sales coming in at $63.35 billion, a 7.3% gain from $59.03 billion in fiscal 2008. Same-store sales for fiscal 2009 rose 2.1%, the company said.

During August, Walgreens opened 57 stores, including five relocations, and acquired two stores and closed one. As of August 31, the chain had 6,996 drug stores, 553 more than a year ago, including 69 stores acquired over the last 12 months. 

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