Calendar day shifts augmented robust gains in comparable-store sales in May at Walgreen Co.

Walgreens, same-store sales, May, comparable-store sales, comp-store sales, Duane Reade, front end, pharmacy, prescriptions filled, calendar day shifts, Pharmacy same-store sales, customer traffic, basket size, Russell Redman, fiscal 2011 third quarter

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Comp-store sales at Walgreens surge in May

June 3rd, 2011

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Calendar day shifts augmented robust gains in comparable-store sales in May at Walgreen Co.

Walgreens said Friday that same-store sales climbed 5.6% in May, up from a 3.4% increase in April and marking the drug store chain's second-largest comp-store gain this year after a 6.1% rise in January.

The company noted that calendar day shifts positively impacted May same-store sales by 1.1 percentage points and that, as of May 1, Duane Reade stores are now included in same-store results. This year, May had an extra Tuesday and one fewer Saturday.

In the front end, same-store sales rose 3.6% in May. Customer traffic in comparable stores increased 1.6%, and basket size grew 2%.

Pharmacy same-store sales were up 6.7% for the month, with calendar day shifts providing a lift of 1.7 percentage points and generic drug introductions having a negative impact of 1.8 percentage points, Walgreens said. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased 7.1%, reflecting a positive impact of 1.7 percentage points from calendar day shifts.

Overall sales in May came in at $6.08 billion, up 7% from $5.69 billion a year earlier. Revenue grew 5.5% in the front end and 7.8% in the pharmacy during the month.

For the fiscal 2011 third quarter, sales rose 6.8% year over year to $18.38 billion, Walgreens reported. Same-store sales in the quarter climbed 4.1%, including gains of 3.9% in the front end and 4.2% in the pharmacy. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased 4.5%.

Calendar year-to-date sales totaled $30.08 billion, up 8% versus a year ago. Fiscal 2011 year-to-date sales for the first nine months were $54.22 billion, a gain of 7.3% compared with the prior-year period.

Walgreens said it opened 12 stores in May, including six relocations, and acquired one store and closed two. As of May 31, the retailer operated 7,714 drugstores, 192 more than a year ago, including 23 stores acquired over the last 12 months.