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Walgreens March Comp Sales Edges Up 0.7%

Drugstore chain Walgreens (WAG) announced Tuesday that comparable store sales, or sales at stores open for one year or more, edged up 0.7 percent in March, with total sales, including stores open less than a year, also increasing 2.3 percent from last year.

The Deerfield, Illinois-based company reported that total sales, including stores open less than a year, grew 2.3 percent to $6.16 billion in the month of March, from $6.02 billion in the same period of last year.

The company's March sales results were negatively impacted by calendar day shifts due to one additional Sunday and one fewer Thursday in March 2013 compared to March 2012. In addition, Easter fell on March 31 this year compared to April 8 last year.

Total comparable store sales also edged up 0.7 percent, which had a negative impact of 3.0 percentage points due to generic drug introductions over the past 12 months. It also included a 2.1 percentage points negative impact due to calendar day shifts.

At the company's pharmacy counters, sales for the month edged up 0.4 percent. Comparable store pharmacy sales decreased 1.5 percent, negatively impacted by 4.8 percentage points due to due to generic drug introductions, and by 3.4 percent due to calendar day shifts. Pharmacy sales accounted for 62.2 percent of total sales for March.

Total prescriptions filled at comparable stores for the month of March increased 4.0 percent, including a 3.4 percentage points negative impact due to calendar day shifts.

The company noted that the percentage of Express Scripts (ESRX) customers returning and filling prescriptions at its pharmacies continued to increase in March.

Total front-end sales in March grew 5.4 percent, and comparable store front-end sales was up 4.2 percent. Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 1.3 percent, while basket size increased 5.5 percent.

During the month of March, Walgreens opened twelve stores, including four re-locations, and one closure.

For fiscal 2013 year-to-date seven-month period, total sales declined 1.7 percent to $42.12 billion from the year-ago period. Meanwhile, sales grew 2.3 percent to $18.09 billion for the calendar year-to-date three-month period.

In Wednesday's regular trading session, WAG is currently trading at $47.85, up $0.53 or 1.12% on a volume of 1.43 million shares.

by RTT Staff Writer

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