Walgreens' overall sales up 1.5% for the month of February

Deerfield, Ill. — Higher front-end sales for the month of February helped counter-balance lost revenue from Express Scripts prescriptions, Walgreeens reported Monday. Overall, the drug store chain reported a 1.5% sales increase to $5.9 billion.

Shares of Walgreens were up slightly by 8 cents to $32.77 in early morning trading.

This year’s total February sales benefited from one extra day because of leap year, the company noted. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores decreased 9.5% in February (comp sales do not include that extra day). In addition to Express Scripts, lower incidence of flu negatively impacted comparable store prescriptions filled by 1.2 percentage points.

February pharmacy sales decreased 1.4%, while comparable-store pharmacy sales decreased 8.6%. Comparable-store pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 2.2 percentage points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months, by 2.4 percentage points due to lower incidence of cough, cold and flu and by 10.6 percentage points due to no longer being part of the Express Scripts network.

Additionally, 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 February 2011.

Pharmacy sales accounted for 61.6% of total sales for the month.

Total front-end sales increased 6.9% compared with the same month in 2011, while comparable-store front-end sales increased 2%. Customer traffic in comparable stores was down 0.2% while basket size was up 2.2%.

Flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics season-to-date were 5.5 million versus 6.3 million last year.

Total sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2012 were $18.6 billion, up 0.7% from the same period a year ago.

Fiscal 2012 year-to-date sales for the first six months were $36.8 billion, up 2.6%. Calendar year-to-date sales were $11.6 billion, a decrease of 0.6%.

Walgreens opened 10 stores during February, including one relocation, and acquired one store.