WAG reports ESI October impact on prescriptions filled

Overall sales experienced 4.7% lift

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Thursday reported that prescriptions filled at comparable stores for the month of October increased 2.5%.

However, the estimated negative impact on comparable prescriptions filled from prescription transfers and other trend analysis of prescriptions managed by Express Scripts, was approximately 60 basis points. Calendar day shifts in October, which had one additional Monday and one fewer Friday, compared with October 2010, positively impacted prescriptions filled in comparable stores by 70 basis points and lower incidence of flu negatively impacted comparable prescriptions filled by 50 basis points.

Based on the company’s current estimates, and the current assumption that it will not be in Express Scripts’ pharmacy networks beginning Jan. 1, Walgreens expects to achieve 97% to 99% of its fiscal 2011 prescription volume in fiscal 2012. Because the Express Scripts/Medco merger remains under review, the company has made no assumption regarding the consummation, timing or impact of the merger related to its business for fiscal 2012.

For the month of October, Walgreens realized a 4.7% lift in October sales, to $6.1 billion, as compared to the same period last year. Sales in comparable stores increased 2.6%. The effect of calendar day shifts positively impacted total comparable sales by 50 basis points.

Total front-end sales increased 3.3% in October, while comparable store front-end sales increased 1.7%. Customer traffic in comparable stores dropped slightly by 0.9% and basket size increased 2.6%.

October pharmacy sales increased 4.6%, while comparable pharmacy sales increased 3.1%. Pharmacy sales accounted for 65.3% of total sales for the month.

Flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics season-to-date were nearly 4.1 million versus approximately 4.5 million last year.

Fiscal 2012 year-to-date sales for the first two months were $12.1 billion, up 5%.

Walgreens opened 17 stores during October, including five relocations, acquired one store and closed six. As of Oct. 31, Walgreens operated 8,234 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. That includes 7,786 drugstores, 179 more than a year ago, including 34 stores acquired over the last 12 months.

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