Walgreen September Same-Store Sales Up 7.4%
By Ben Fox Rubin
Walgreen Co.'s (WAG) September same-store sales jumped 7.4% as more people got flu shots, though store traffic
Susquehanna Financial Group had forecast a 6.6% rise.
Drugstore retailers like Walgreen have posted higher gross margins recently, helped by a wave of generic-drug
offerings that carry higher profitability than nongenerics. However, generic drugs also command lower prices.
The shift in consumers' drug purchases toward generics has led pharmacy companies to take steps to improve their
performance--including a recent agreement by Walgreen and European drug giant Alliance Boots GmbH with drug wholesaler
AmerisourceBergen Corp. (ABC).
Walgreen said same-store sales were helped by 1.9 percentage points due to calendar day shifts, but hurt by 0.5 points
over generic drug introductions in the last 12 months.
Walgreen's front-end same-store sales climbed 2.9% and comparable pharmacy sales rose 10% last month. Same-store
prescriptions filled climbed 9.6% in September, helped in part by more flu shots versus a year earlier.
Flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics season-to-date were more than 1.9 million versus about 1.6 million
Same-store customer traffic declined 0.8%, while basket size increased 3.7%.
Total September sales rose 8% to $5.92 billion.
Walgreen earlier this week reported its fiscal fourth-quarter profit jumped 86% as pharmacy section's sales continued
Shares closed Wednesday at $56.53 and were inactive premarket. The stock is up 53% this year.
Write to Ben Fox Rubin at email@example.com
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