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Slower Traffic Hurts Walgreens’ January

In January, Walgreens posted a sales gain of 6.3% to $6.15 billion versus the same month in fiscal 2012. Total front-end sales increased 1.3% versus the 2012 month, while comparable store front-end sales, which include general merchandise, decreased 0.4%.

Customer traffic in comparable stores slipped 2.8% while basket size increased 2.4%.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores advanced 13.6% in January, with a rough flu season adding several points to the increase. Flu shots, part of the gain, as administered in Walgreens stores and clinics totaled about 7 million versus approximately 5.5 million season-to-date last year.

January sales in comparable stores increased 3.7%. Calendar day shifts in the month positively impacted total comparable sales by 1.3 percentage points, Walgreens noted, while generic drug introductions over the past 12 months shrunk comparable sales by 3.9 percentage points.

Walgreens opened nine stores in January including two relocations. It also acquired two stores and closed two. As of January 31, Walgreens operated 8,532 locations in all 50 of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. That includes 8,067 drug stores, 237 more than a year ago, with 106 net stores acquired over the past 12 months.