TORONTO — Robust pharmacy and front-end business lifted revenue and earnings at Shoppers Drug Mart (SDM) for the fiscal 2010 first quarter.
The Canadian drug store chain said Wednesday that for the first quarter ended March 27, sales rose 5.7% to $2.32 billion (Canadian), reflecting revenue growth in all regions of the country, led by gains in Quebec and western Canada. On a same-store basis, sales increased 3.1% during the quarter.
Prescription sales increased 6.3% in the first quarter to $1.155 billion, while same-store prescription sales were up 4.1%. SDM said prescription sales growth stems mainly from strong growth in the number of prescriptions filled, while increased generic utilization continues to have a deflationary impact on sales growth.
In the front end, total sales climbed 5.1% in the first quarter to $1.166 billion, and SDM reported that it continues to experience sales gains in its core categories. Same-store sales in the front of the store gained 2.1%.
Meanwhile, first-quarter net earnings rose 8.2% to $116 million, or 53 cents per diluted share, from $107 million, or 49 cents per diluted share, a year earlier. SDM attributed the increase to top-line growth, improved purchasing synergies and cost reduction, productivity and efficiency efforts. Negatively impacting earnings were higher operating expenses at the store level associated with store network growth and expansion initiatives, including increased amortization, and continued investments in pricing and promotional activities, the retailer said.
"We are pleased with our first-quarter results, especially in light of the fact that we experienced a weaker cough, cold and flu season compared to a year ago," SDM president and chief executive officer Jürgen Schreiber said in a statement. "In these challenging times for community pharmacy, particularly in the province of Ontario, I am extremely proud of our associate-owners and their teams as they work through this difficult period without ever losing sight of what matters most — the health and well-being of our valued patients and customers."
During the first quarter, SDM opened or acquired 27 drug stores, 11 of which were relocations, and one smaller drug store was closed.
As of March 27, SDM’s retail network encompassed 1,303 stores, including 1,183 Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix drug stores and 51 Shoppers Simply Pharmacy/Pharmaprix Simplement Santé stores, 63 Shoppers Home Health Care stores and six Murale prestige beauty stores. Retail selling space was approximately 12.2 million square feet at the end of the quarter, a year-over-year increase of 9%.
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