Walgreen’s October sales helped by flu shots, pharmacy

SHARE Walgreen’s October sales helped by flu shots, pharmacy
SHARE Walgreen’s October sales helped by flu shots, pharmacy

DEERFIELD — Walgreen’s revenue from established stores topped analyst expectations last month, as more flu shots and higher pharmacy revenue helped the nation’s largest drugstore chain.

The Deerfield company said Wednesday that revenue from stores open at least a year rose 5.6 percent last month. That figure is seen as a key indicator of a retailer’s health because it excludes the potentially distorting impact of recently opened or closed stores.

Analysts expected, on average, growth of 5.2 percent, according to Thomson Reuters.

Revenue from Walgreen’s established pharmacies climbed 7.5 percent while sales from the front end, or the rest of its stores, rose 2 percent. Analysts expected growth of 7.1 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

Walgreen ran more than 8,200 drugstores last month. Its stores and the clinics in them have administered more than 5.7 million flu shots so far this season. That’s up from 4.9 million last year, and the growth helped counter a sales hit from the shifting calendar.

Last month had one additional Friday and one less Tuesday than October 2013. Tuesdays are typically busier days for the drugstore chain’s pharmacies than Fridays. Pharmacies account for more than two thirds of the company’s total sales.

Walgreen also saw the continuation of a trend last month in which its customer traffic slowed, but those who visited purchased more.

Walgreen shares closed at $65.24 on Tuesday and have climbed nearly 14 percent so far this year. Meanwhile, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has risen nearly 9 percent.

The Latest
White Sox open three-game series Friday against Yankees in New York
The team has a waiting list of 140,000 for 81,441-seat Lambeau Field, which means a long time on the list.
Lesly Morales has been missing since late April, family said.
The Committee on Public Safety approved the mayor’s ordinance by a comfortable vote of 14 to 3 that did not reflect the barrage of concerns raised about a crackdown roundly condemned as a toothless and desperate headline-grabber that will have no impact on youth violence.
“I truly believe the greatest symbol of evil in our time is a child lying in a casket, slaughtered by violence. How many people have to die and children slaughtered before we say, ‘Enough!?’ ”