DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Thursday reported March sales of $6.4 billion, an increase of 4.5% as compared with the same month in fiscal 2013.
With Easter falling on April 20 this year compared with March 31 last year, total front-end sales decreased 2.6% in March compared with the same month in fiscal 2013, while comparable store front-end sales decreased 3.4%. Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 4% while basket size increased 0.6%. Walgreens will report combined comparable store sales for March and April with its April sales results.
Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased by 5.1% in March and increased 4.2% on a calendar day-shift adjusted basis. March 2014 had one additional Monday and one fewer Friday compared with March 2013. These calendar shifts positively impacted prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 90 basis points. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores were negatively impacted by 30 basis points due to the lower incidence of flu in March 2014.
March pharmacy sales increased by 8.9%. Comparable store pharmacy sales increased 8% and increased by a calendar day-shift adjusted 7.1%. Calendar day-shift adjusted comparable store pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 160 basis points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months, and were negatively impacted by 40 basis points due to a lower incidence of flu.
Pharmacy sales accounted for 64.7% of total sales for the month.
Sales in comparable stores increased by 3.5% in March. Calendar day shifts positively impacted total comparable sales by 0.6%. Generic drug introductions in the last 12 months negatively impacted total comparable sales by 100 basis points, while the lower incidence of flu negatively impacted total comparable sales by 20 basis points.
Fiscal 2014 year-to-date sales for the first seven months were $44.4 billion, an increase of 5.4%.
Walgreens opened 13 stores during March, including three relocations, acquired three and closed one.