Shoppers Drug Mart sees Q1 prescription sales near $1 billion

TORONTO Shoppers Drug Mart on Tuesday posted $2 billion in sales, representing an increase of 10.1 percent, for the first quarter ended March 22. Prescription sales increased 8.8 percent in the first quarter to $953.3 million, accounting for 48 percent of sales. Front-end sales grew 11.3 percent to $1 billion.

On a same-store basis, sales increased 6 percent during the quarter with a lift in same-store prescription sales of 5 percent and a comparable-store front store sales increase of 7 percent, or 7.4 percent excluding tobacco, with sales growth benefiting from an earlier Easter this year compared to last year.

First-quarter net earnings increased 18.8 percent to $99.1 million, the company reported.

During the first quarter, 51 drug stores were opened or acquired, eight of which were relocations, and five smaller drug stores were closed. The company also added one home health care store to its network during the quarter. At quarter-end, there were 1,160 stores in the system, comprised of 1,095 drug stores and 65 Shoppers Home Health Care stores. Drug store selling space was approximately 9.9 million square feet at the end of the first quarter, an increase of 16.4 percent compared to a year ago.

During the conference call, Shoppers Drug Mart’s president and chief executive officer Jurgen Schreiber noted that its new cosmetic/pharmacy prototype that was to have opened in June has been postponed, in part because newly signed vendor partners are assisting in creating new displays for the format.

Schreiber was a little close to the vest in discussing the new format with analysts, however, declining to comment on whether or not consumers will know that the new format is a Shoppers Drug Mart-branded format, for example. “As you can expect, we will not disclose any details on that one. It’s truly too confidential; it’s truly too unique to let anything out at this point and time,” he said.

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