October at Walgreens: Sales up, comps down

DEERFIELD, Ill. October sales at Walgreens rose 3.7% to $5.85 billion, compared with the same month last year.

The drug store chain reported that Duane Reade stores, which the company acquired in April, contributed 2.8 percentage points to the total sales increase for the month.

Calendar day shifts negatively impacted the drug store chain's comparable sales, as same-store sales dropped 1.3% and comparable-pharmacy sales decreased 1.6%, despite the fact that Walgreens' October pharmacy sales increased 2.5%.

Walgreens added that it administered more than 2.2 million flu shots in October throughout its pharmacies and retail clinics.

“We have provided nearly as many seasonal flu shots this year as we did during all of last year’s flu season, despite significantly less flu virus circulating across the country,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy services. “With ample supply of flu vaccine available and the typical peak of the flu season still several months away, now is the time for consumers to protect themselves, their families and their friends against the flu before the busy holiday season starts. And we’ve made it easier than ever to get immunized by offering flu shots at every Walgreens, every day with no appointment necessary.”

Meanwhile, total front-end sales increased 6.3% in October, including 4.8 percentage points from Duane Reade. Comparable store front-end sales were down 0.8%. Customer traffic in comparable stores dropped 1.4%, while basket size increased 0.6%.

During the month, Walgreens opened 36 stores, including six relocations, and closed two. At Oct. 31, Walgreens operated 8,092 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. That includes 7,608 drug stores, 503 more than a year ago, including 284 stores acquired over the last 12 months.

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