April same-store sales at Walgreen Co. benefited from this year's later Easter holiday as the drug chain saw robust gains in the front end and the pharmacy.


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Walgreens sees same-store sales rise in April

May 5th, 2014

DEERFIELD, Ill. – April same-store sales at Walgreen Co. benefited from this year's later Easter holiday as the drug chain saw robust gains in the front end and the pharmacy.

Walgreens said Monday that comparable-store sales climbed 7.6% in April. The increase reflects negative impacts of 0.5 percentage point from calendar day shifts (one extra Wednesday and one fewer Monday) and 0.8 percentage point from introductions of new generic drugs, which carry lower selling prices but higher profit margins.

Walgreens' same-store sales for March were up 3.5%, with the later Easter impacting results in the front end.

In April, same-store sales in the front end rose 8.2%. Customer traffic in comparable stores was up 2.6% and basket size grew 5.6% for the month as a result of Easter falling on April 20 compared with March 31 last year, Walgreens said.

The retailer reported that for the combined March/April period, comp-store sales in the front end increased 2.1%. Customer traffic in comparable stores dipped 0.9% and basket size gained 3% in the period.

In the pharmacy, prescription count at comparable stores grew by 3.5% in April and was up 4.3% on a calendar day-shift adjusted basis. Calendar shifts negatively impacted prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 0.8 percentage point.

Comparable pharmacy sales in April rose 7.3% and were up a calendar day-shift adjusted 8.1%, according to Walgreens. Calendar day shifts negatively impacted comparable pharmacy sales by 0.8 percentage point during the month. Calendar day-shift adjusted comparable pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 1.3 percentage points due to new generics, the company said.

Overall April sales were $6.49 billion, up 8.8% from $5.96 billion a year earlier. For the month, sales were up 8.8% in the front end and 9.2% in the pharmacy. Walgreens said pharmacy sales accounted for 64.5% of total April sales.

For the March/April period, sales gained 6.6% from the same two months in 2013, and same-store sales rose 5.5% from the year-ago period, the drug chain reported.

Calendar year-to-date sales for 2014 came in at $25.36 billion, up 5.4% from $24.05 billion in 2013. Walgreens' fiscal 2014 year-to-date sales, covering the first eight months, were $50.88 billion, a gain of 5.8% from $48.08 billion a year earlier.

Walgreens said it opened eight drug stores in April, including two relocations, and acquired six stores and closed two stores.

As of April 30, Walgreens operated 8,231 drug stores overall, 145 more than a year ago, including a net of 69 stores acquired over the last 12 months.

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