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Walgreens pharmacy comps up 1.2%; Express Scripts, slow flu season are headwinds


DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Monday reported November sales of $6.1 billion, an increase of 4.2%, compared with the same month in fiscal year 2011. Sales in comparable stores increased 1.8%.

Total front-end sales increased 4%, with comparable store front-end sales up 2.7%. Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 30 basis points and basket size was up 3%.

November pharmacy sales increased 3.4%, while comparable pharmacy sales increased 1.2%. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased 60 basis points in November. Calendar day shifts in November, which had one additional Wednesday and one fewer Monday compared with November 2010, negatively impacted prescriptions filled in comparable stores by 40 basis points. Lower incidence of flu negatively impacted comparable prescriptions filled by 80 basis points.

The estimated negative impact on comparable prescriptions filled from prescription transfers and other trend analysis of prescriptions managed by Express Scripts was approximately 110 basis points. Despite this impact, total prescriptions filled grew by 150 basis points through the month, Walgreens reported.

Comparable pharmacy sales also were negatively impacted by 220 basis points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months and by 130 basis points due to lower incidence of cough, cold and flu. Pharmacy sales accounted for 64.7% of total sales for the month.

Flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics season-to-date were 5 million, versus 5.4 million last year.

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