Walgreen Co. turned in its largest monthly same-store sales gain of 2013 in September.

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Same-store sales spike in September at Walgreens

October 3rd, 2013

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreen Co. turned in its largest monthly same-store sales gain of 2013 in September.

Walgreens said Thursday that comparable-store sales climbed 7.4% in September. Calendar day shifts (one extra Monday and one fewer Saturday) positively impacted comp-store sales by 1.9 percentage points. Introductions of new generic drugs, which carry lower prices but higher profit margins, negatively impacted comparable sales by 0.5 percentage point.

The September result continues the same-store sales momentum that Walgreens generated over the summer, when it posted increases of 4.8% in August, 6.3% in July and 2.3% in June.

In the front end, same-store sales were up 2.9% for September. Customer traffic in comparable stores dipped 0.8%, but basket size grew 3.7%, according to Walgreens.

Comparable pharmacy sales in September increased 10.2%. Adjusted for a calendar day shift, pharmacy same-store sales rose 7.3% for the month. Walgreens said calendar day shifts positively impacted comparable pharmacy sales 2.9 percentage points. Calendar day-shift adjusted comparable pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 0.7 percentage point from new generics but got a lift of 0.5 percentage point from more flu shots versus a year earlier.

Prescription count at comparable stores gained 9.6% in September and was up 6.7% on a calendar day-shift adjusted basis. According to Walgreens, calendar shifts positively impacted prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 2.9 percentage points.

Flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics so far this season total more than 1.9 million, compared with about 1.6 million last year, the drug chain said.

Overall September sales at Walgreens rose 8% to $5.92 billion from $5.48 billion a year earlier. Sales were up 10.4% in the pharmacy and 4.1% in the front end for the month. Pharmacy sales represented 65% of total September sales.

For the calendar year to date, sales came in at $54.11 billion, up 4.1% versus a year ago.

Walgreens said it opened 17 stores in September, including eight relocations, and closed one store. As of Sept. 30, the chain operated 8,123 drug stores, 77 more than a year ago, including five net stores acquired over the past year.