Calendar Shifts Hurt Walgreens April Results

In April, Walgreens generated sales of $5.98 billion, an increase of 3.8% from the same month in fiscal 2012, the retailer announced. Total front-end sales, including general merchandise such as home furnishings and housewares, decreased 2.9% versus the same month in fiscal 2012, while comparable store front-end sales decreased 4.3%.

Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 5.9% even as basket size increased 1.6%, Walgreens stated.

However, for the combined March/April period that includes the Easter holiday season, front-end comps only decreased by 0.2%, the company pointed out, as customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 4% and basket size increased 3.8%.

Overall comps increased by 1.2% in April, Walgreens related. Calendar-day shifts positively impacted total comparable sales by 2.2 percentage points, while generic drug introductions in the past 12 months hit total comps for 2.6 percentage points.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased by 9.7% in April and 6.3% if calendar-day shift impact is eliminated, Walgreens maintained. April 2012 had one additional Tuesday and one fewer Sunday compared with April 2012. Those shifts positively impacted prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 3.4 percentage points, the company reported.

April pharmacy sales increased by 7.3%, while comparable store pharmacy sales increased 4.7% and 1.3% adjusted for calendar day-shift. The calendar day shifts positively impacted pharmacy sales in comparable stores by 3.4 percentage points, Walgreens noted, adding that generic drug sales depressed sales by 4.1 percentage points. Pharmacy revenues composed 64.5% of total April sales.

Walgreens opened 14 stores during April, including four relocations, and it closed one, the company said. As of April 30, it operated 8,550 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, including 8,086 drugstores, 231 more than a year ago including 99 net stores acquired over the last 12 months.