August a respectable sales month for Walgreens

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreen Co. continued its march through record sales territory in August, with companywide revenues rising 10.3 percent over the same month last year, to $4.62 billion.

Comparable-store sales also showed healthy gains, rising 6.5 percent in the final month of fiscal 2007. Pharmacy sales closely tracked those increases, rising 9.9 percent overall and 6.5 percent on a comp-store basis. Total prescriptions dispensed at stores open more than a year rose 3.4 percent, and pharmacy sales accounted for 66.4 percent of Walgreens’ total sales for the month.

Despite the gains, the nation’s most profitable drug chain acknowledged the drag that lower-cost generic drugs have put on the top line. "Comparable-pharmacy sales," Walgreens reported today, "were negatively impacted by 4.2 percentage points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months."

Less clear, but no less real, was the impact that rival Wal-Mart Stores has had on Walgreens and other drug chain pharmacy operations with that company’s ongoing $4 generic drug discount promotion.

Calendar year-to-date sales at Walgreens are up 12.2 percent to $35.94 billion, with total sales for fiscal 2007 up 13.4 percent to $53.76 billion. For the fiscal year, Walgreens is reporting a comp-store sales increase of 8.1 percent. Walgreens finished the year with 5,992 units.

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