Solid front-end sales help drive Shoppers Drug Mart Q4 sales boost

TORONTO — Shoppers Drug Mart announced on Thursday a boost in fourth-quarter sales thanks to moderate sales growth in pharmacy and strong results at the front end.

Sales for the quarter, ended Dec. 31, 2011, totaled C$2.6 billion, up 4.3% compared with the year-ago period. Prescription sales rose 2.8% to C$1.8 billion. On a same-store basis, prescription sales rose 2.3%.

At the front end, sales were C$1.4 billion, up 5.5% compared with the year-ago period. The company noted that it experienced particularly strong sales gains in beauty, confection and convenient food items. Growth also was aided by marketing campaigns and promotions, strong seasonal programs and solid execution at the store level. On a same-store basis, front-store sales increased 4.4%.

Net earnings during the quarter were C$176 million, compared with C$169 million in the year-ago period. On a diluted basis, net earnings per share were 82 Canadian cents, compared with 78 Canadian cents in the year-ago period.

“Looking ahead, the strength of our brand, the quality of our assets and the power of our value proposition, together with the dedication and commitment of our associate-owners and their teams at the store level, have us well positioned to confront the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities in the rapidly evolving pharmacy marketplace,” stated Domenic Pilla, president and CEO of Shoppers Drug Mart.