Wall Street: Hurricane Sandy may have whipped up front-end sales prior to coming ashore

NEW YORK — Hurricane Sandy may have shut down lower Manhattan for a few days, but research analyst Ed Kelly of Credit Suisse was bullish on how the storm system may have whipped up front-end sales for pharmacy operators. 

"Front-end sales [are] likely to get a boost from Sandy," he wrote in a note published Wednesday. "While drug stores’ front-end sales are likely to continue to be pressured by channel shifting to value-oriented players and aggressive growth of small-box formats like dollar stores, we believe October sales should be better than recent trends," he suggested. "Hurricane Sandy likely provided a boost to sales, as consumers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic stocked up for this catastrophic event."

Pharmacy prescription sales should also be up, Kelly wrote, as summertime improvements should continue. "Script growth, as reported by IMS, was up a solid 2.7% for the latest four-week period ended Oct. 19, in line with the prior four-week period," Kelly noted. 

Two prominent New York City retailers will report October sales in the coming week. Rite Aid is expected to report October sales Nov. 1 and Walgreens Nov. 5. 

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