Walgreens Reports December Sales Increase of 2.7%

 The drug store chain opened nine new locations in December.

Walgreens has reported December sales of $6.98 billion, an increase of 2.7% from $6.80 billion for the same month in fiscal 2011.

Total front-end sales increased 1.4% in December 2011 for the drug store chain, compared with the same month in 2010, while comparable store front-end sales increased 0.6%. Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 0.6% while basket size increased 1.2%.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores decreased 0.6% in December. Calendar day shifts in December, which had one additional Saturday and one fewer Wednesday compared with December 2010, negatively impacted prescriptions filled in comparable stores by 1.9%. Lower incidence of flu negatively impacted comparable prescriptions filled by 1.5%.

The estimated negative impact on comparable prescriptions filled based on prescription transfers and other trend analysis of prescriptions managed by Express Scripts Inc. was approximately 1.5%. Total prescriptions filled were flat in the month compared with a year ago.

December pharmacy sales increased 2.0%, while comparable pharmacy sales increased 0.2%. Calendar day shifts negatively impacted pharmacy sales in comparable stores by 1.9%. Comparable pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 1.9% due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months and by 1.8% due to lower incidence of cough, cold and flu. Pharmacy sales accounted for 58.4% of total sales for the month.

Flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics season-to-date were 5.3 million versus 6.0 million last year.

Sales in comparable stores (those open at least a year) increased 0.4%. The effect of calendar day shifts negatively impacted total comparable sales by 1.1%.

Calendar 2011 sales totaled $73.18 billion, an increase of 6.3% from $68.86 billion in 2010.

Walgreens opened nine stores during December, including one relocation, acquired one store and closed two.

At Dec. 31, Walgreens operated 8,267 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. That includes 7,818 drugstores, 163 more than a year ago, including 24 stores acquired over the last 12 months.


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