DEERFIELD (dpa-AFX) - Drugstore chain Walgreens (WAG) announced Thursday that comparable store sales, or sales at stores open for one year or more, declined 6.4 percent in April, with total sales, including stores open less than a year, also dropping 3.7 percent.
The company's results continue to be negatively impacted by its exit from Express Scripts, Inc. pharmacy network, lower instances of cough, cold and flu, and generic drug introductions.
Meanwhile, calendar day shift in April positively impacted results, with April 2012 having one additional Sunday and Monday, and one fewer Friday and Saturday compared to April 2011.
The Deerfield, Illinois-based company reported that total sales, including stores open less than a year, decreased 3.7 percent to $5.78 billion in the month of April, from $6.0 billion in the same period of last year.
Meanwhile, total comparable store sales declined 6.4 percent, which had a positive impact of 0.4 percentage points due to calendar day shifts.
At the company's pharmacy counters, sales for the month decreased 6.3 percent, and comparable store pharmacy sales decreased 8.9 percent, negatively impacted by 10.7 percentage points due to dropping out from Express Scripts network. Pharmacy sales represented 62.6 percent of total sales for the month.
Total prescriptions filled at comparable stores for the month of April declined 7.8 percent. Prescriptions processed by Express Scripts comprised 12.6 percent of Walgreens prescriptions in April 2011.
However, front-end sales in April edged down only 0.5 percent, and comparable store front-end sales were down 2.2 percent.
'We've seen month-to-month improvement in comparable prescriptions filled on a calendar adjusted basis each of the last three months, while our front-end business reflects our continued focus on a more relevant product mix, supported by a new advertising circular strategy that launched in February with continued pricing and promotion discipline,' CFO Wade Miquelon said in a statement.
In Thursday's regular trading session, WAG is currently trading at $22.06, down $0.26 or 1.19% on a volume of 8.82 million shares.
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