Rx lifts same-store sales at Walgreens in July

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DEERFIELD, Ill. — Strong pharmacy results fueled a solid same-store sales gain in July at Walgreen Co.Walgreens said Tuesday that comparable-store sales climbed 5.2% for July, continuing the momentum from a robust performance in June, in which the drug chain saw a 7.5% gain in comp-store sales.

In July, the company noted, same-store sales were negatively impacted by 0.4 percentage point from calendar day shifts (one extra Thursday and one fewer Monday) and by 1.1 percentage points from introductions of new generic drugs, which have lower prices but higher profit margins.

Front-end sales edged up 1.1% on a comp-store basis in July. Walgreens reported that customer traffic fell 2.6% but basket size grew 3.7% during the month.

Comparable pharmacy sales rose 7.6% for July and were up by a calendar day-shift adjusted 8.2%, according to Walgreens. The company said comparable pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 0.6 percentage point from calendar day shifts, while calendar day-shift adjusted comparable pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 1.7 percentage points from new generics.

Prescription count at comparable stores increased by 3.7% in July and grew 4.3% on a calendar day-shift adjusted basis. Calendar day shifts negatively impacted prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 0.6 percentage point.

Overall July sales came in at $6.39 billion, up 6.1% from $6.02 billion a year earlier. Sales gained 1.4% in the front end and 9.5% in the pharmacy. Walgreens said pharmacy sales represented 66.5% of total sales for the month.

For the calendar year to date, Walgreens’ sales totaled $44.51 billion, up 5.9% from $42.02 billion in the prior-year period. Fiscal 2014 year-to-date sales, covering 11 months, were $70.03 billion, a gain of 6% from $66.06 billion in the fiscal 2013 period.

Walgreens opened eight drug stores during July, including one relocation, and closed 30 stores. The company said nearly all of the July store closings were part of its previously announced efforts to optimize its asset base by closing 76 drug stores.

As of July 31, Walgreens operated 8,192 drug stores, 87 more than a year ago, including 70 net stores acquired over the last 12 months.


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