Walgreens' monthly sales rise

DEERFIELD, Ill. One of the nation's largest drug store chains reported a near 6% increase in its monthly sales, compared with the year-ago period.

Walgreens said it garnered sales of $5.68 billion for the month of April, from $5.36 billion for the same month in 2009. The company’s Duane Reade acquisition, which closed April 9, contributed 2.2 percentage points to the total sales increase, although Duane Reade stores are not included in any comparable-store results.

Sales in comparable stores (those open at least a year) decreased 0.2%. April comparable-store sales were negatively impacted by approximately 0.7 percentage point due to an earlier Easter this year compared with an April Easter last year-- a similar effect was seen on comparable-store front-end sales, which dropped 2.6%. In addition, April comparable-store sales were positively impacted by 0.2 percentage point due to calendar day shifts.

Meanwhile, pharmacy sales at Walgreens were positively impacted by an increase of 90-day prescriptions (2.6% increase in prescriptions filled at comparable stores) and this year's calendar day shifts. While pharmacy sales accounted for 65.4% of total sales for the month, sales increased 6% and comparable-pharmacy sales increased 1%, despite the lower incidence of flu negatively impacting prescriptions filled by 1.4 percentage points.

The drug store chain also added that total front-end sales increased 4.9% for the month as well.

Calendar year-to-date sales were $22.14 billion, an increase of 4.5% from $21.19 billion in 2009. Fiscal 2010 year-to-date sales for the first eight months were $44.84 billion, up 6.1% from $42.25 billion.

Walgreens opened 25 stores during April, including four relocations, acquired 262 (including 258 Duane Reade drug stores) and closed one. At April 30, Walgreens operated 8,001 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. That includes 7,507 drug stores, 724 more than a year ago, including 323 stores acquired over the last 12 months.

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