Walgreens looks good in August

Walgreens reported August sales of $6.4 billion, an increase of 3.6% from the same month in fiscal 2013. Total sales for fiscal 2014 were $76.4 billion, an increase of 5.8% from fiscal 2013.
Total front-end sales increased 2.1% in August compared with the same month in fiscal 2013, while comparable-store front-end sales increased 1.4%. Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 1.7% while basket size increased 3.1%.
Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased by 1.1% in August and increased 3.2% on a calendar day-shift adjusted basis. August 2014 had one additional Sunday and one fewer Thursday compared with August 2013. These calendar shifts negatively impacted prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 210 basis points.
August pharmacy sales increased by 5.4%. Comparable-store pharmacy sales increased 5% and increased by a calendar day-shift adjusted 7.1%. Calendar day-shift adjusted comparable-store pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 180 basis points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months. Pharmacy sales accounted for 65.7% of total sales for the month.
Sales in comparable stores increased by 3.7% in August. Calendar day shifts negatively impacted total comparable sales by 140 basis points. Generic drug introductions in the last 12 months negatively impacted total comparable sales by 120 basis points.
Total sales for fourth-quarter 2014, which ended Aug. 31, were 19.1 billion, up 6.2%. Comparable store sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 increased 5.6%, while front-end comparable store sales for the quarter increased 1.3%. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased 3.9% in the fourth quarter and comparable pharmacy sales increased 8.2%.
Calendar 2014 year-to-date sales for the first eight months were $50.9 billion, an increase of 5.7% from $48.2 billion in 2013.
Walgreens stated on its Aug. 6, 2014, conference call with analysts that in the fourth quarter, it expected gross profit margin to be down a similar percentage year-over-year to what was experienced in the third quarter. This is due to ongoing gross profit margin pressures, including recent changes in the environment of the company's pharmacy business including ongoing generic drug inflation, reimbursement pressure and a shift in pharmacy mix toward 90-day prescription refills at retail locations and Medicare Part D. The company also pointed out that last year's fourth quarter included net gains from certain litigation matters, which reduced selling, general and administrative expenses by just under 1 percentage point.
Walgreens opened 23 stores during August, including four relocations, and closed five. On Aug. 31, Walgreens operated 8,309 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. That includes 8,206 drug stores, 91 more than a year ago, including 70 net stores acquired over the last 12 months. The company also operates infusion and respiratory services facilities, specialty pharmacies and mail service facilities. Its Take Care Health Systems subsidiary manages more than 400 in-store convenient care clinics.


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