Walgreens’ March Impacted By Late Easter

For the month of March, Walgreens posted sales of $6.43 billion, up 4.5% from the period a year earlier. Comparable store front-end sales, including those for general merchandise such as home furnishings and housewares, decreased 3.4%, the company announced.

Easter falls on April 20 this year as opposed to March 31 in 2013. The lack of Easter shopping slowed March 2014 sales, Walgreens asserted. Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 4% while basket size increased 0.6%, Walgreens reported.

March pharmacy sales increased by 8.9% while pharmacy comps increased 8%. In total, store comps gained 3.5% in March year over year, Walgreens stated.

Walgreens opened 13 stores in March, including three relocations, acquired three units and closed one. As of March 31, Walgreens operated 8,688 locations in all 50 of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands including 8,221 drugstores, 144 more than a year earlier, including 63 net stores acquired over the past 12 months. The company also operates infusion and respiratory services facilities, specialty pharmacies and mail service facilities as well as the Take Care Health Systems subsidiary, which manages more than 750 in-store convenient care clinics and worksite health and wellness centers.