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Walgreens total sales, comps drop in June

BY Allison Cerra

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Thursday posted June sales of about $5.6 billion, a decrease of 6.8% as compared with the same month in fiscal year 2011.

The negative impact on comparable-store prescriptions filled due to no longer being part of the Express Scripts pharmacy network was 10.7 percentage points. Prescriptions processed by Express Scripts comprised 12.6% of Walgreens prescriptions in June 2011. June pharmacy sales decreased 10.7%, while comparable-store pharmacy sales slid 15%. Calendar day shifts negatively impacted pharmacy sales in comparable stores by 2.3 percentage points. Comparable-store pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 5.8 percentage points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months, by 0.7 percentage points due to the product mix of cough, cold and flu drugs.

Pharmacy sales accounted for 62.9% of total sales for the month.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores tumbled 11.9% in June. Calendar day shifts during the month, which had one additional Friday and Saturday, and one fewer Wednesday and Thursday compared with June 2011, negatively impacted prescriptions filled in comparable stores by 2.3 percentage points. Additionally, lower incidence of flu also drove down comparable-prescription sales by 0.3 percentage points.

Walgreens did see a small positive gain in total front-end sales, which increased 0.5%, compared with the same month in 2011; however, comparable-store front-end sales decreased 1%. Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 2.3% while basket size increased 1.3%.

Sales in comparable stores decreased by 10%.

Calendar year-to-date sales were $35.04 billion, a decrease of 3% from nearly $36.11 billion in 2011.

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Child actress, model Holly Harrell to be the face of Little Royal’s Hair Care line

BY DSN STAFF

LOS ANGELES — Young actress and model Holly Harrell has joined Little Royal’s Hair Care’s list of celebrity ambassadors.

The curly-haired performer will appear in the brand’s newest campaign supporting the Little Royal’s Hair Care collection beginning in August. She will appear in all elements of the brand’s holistic marketing campaign, including TV and print advertising, in-store displays, iMedia and public relations outreach.

Harrell has appeared in more than 20 television commercials and on the covers of numerous national magazines. She is also one of the few child models who has walked the runway at Bryant Park during the annual Fall Fashion Week in New York.

The Little Royal’s Hair Care collection includes keratin protection formulas that help prevent breakage and split ends to help children grow their hair stronger and longer. The collection offers a shampoo, conditioner, a 2-in-1, as well as two stylers and one treatment that provide additional options for smoothing, strengthening, and frizz control.

The Little Royal’s Hair Care line is sold at drug stores, food stores and mass merchandisers. Suggested retail prices for products range from $3.99 to $6.99 each.

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Rite Aid’s June comps decrease 1%

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid’s same-store sales decreased in June, compared with June 2011, due largely to a decrease in pharmacy comps, the retail pharmacy chain said Thursday.

The 1% decrease in overall comps included a 1.6% decrease in pharmacy same-store sales — including a negative effect of 672 basis points from new generic introductions — and a 0.3% increase in front-end same-store sales. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 2.9%.

The results for the month stand in contrast to Rite Aid’s strong first-quarter 2012 results, but appear in line with results for the pharmacy retail industry overall and with analyst forecasts. In a report Thursday, Guggenheim Partners analyst John Heinbockel said his firm remained "bullish" about Rite Aid, saying that despite comps’ being below the forecasted 1.5% increase, the decrease was due to the hit from generics and the timing of the Fourth of July holiday.

In a report last week, Heinbockel wrote that spending had gone down somewhat in May "with more to go," resulting in a "cautious" outlook on consumer spending due to ongoing pressure on personal incomes from payroll taxes. As a result, he wrote, comps likely would moderate. "We continue to lean in a more defensive direction, preferring investments in the dollar stores and drug retailers, both of which should benefit from superior relative earnings momentum through the balance of 2012 and into 2013," Heinbockel wrote.

Total drug store sales declined as well, to $1.9 billion, compared with nearly $1.6 billion in June 2011.

Comps for the 17-week period that ended June 30 increased 1.7% over the same period last year, including a 2.1% increase in front-end comps and a 1.4% increase in pharmacy comps, as well as a 3% increase in prescription count at comparable stores.

Meanwhile, total drug store sales increased 1%, from $8.28 billion to $8.37 billion.

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