DEERFIELD, Ill. — A rebound in front-end business and strong pharmacy sales fueled a solid same-store sales gain at Walgreen Co. in September.
The drug store chain said Friday that sales in comparable stores rose 5.3% for the month, more than doubling the 1.9% uptick in August and the 2% increase in July.
Comparable-store front-end sales climbed 2% in September, after decreasing 1.3% in August and July.
In the pharmacy, comparable-store revenue advanced 7%. Walgreens said the gain reflects a positive impact of 2.4 percentage points due to seasonal flu shots — which the company last month noted were administered at a record pace — as well as a negative impact of 2.3 percentage points because of generic drug introductions.
Prescriptions filled at comparable stores escalated 12% in September, including an increase of 5.2 percentage points due to seasonal flu shots and 1.4 percentage points due to more patients filling 90-day prescriptions.
Calendar day shifts had a negative impact on the month, since this year September had one extra Wednesday and one less Monday. According to Walgreens, the calendar shifts negatively impacted total comparable-store sales by 0.2 percentage points, including 0.3 percentage points in the pharmacy, and prescriptions filled in comparable stores by 0.3 percentage points.
Overall sales in September, meanwhile, jumped 10.3% to $5.35 billion from $4.85 billion a year earlier. That reflected an 11.2% rise in total pharmacy sales.
Calendar year-to-date sales came in at nearly $47.62 billion, up 7.4% from $44.34 billion in the prior-year period. Walgreens noted that its 2010 fiscal year began Sept. 1, so fiscal year-to-date sales are the same as the month’s sales.
Walgreens said it opened 48 stores in September, including six relocations. As of Sept. 30, the chain operated 7,045 drug stores, 566 more than a year ago, including 67 stores acquired over the last 12 months.