Walgreens registers nearly $5.5 billion in September sales, down 7.8%

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Wednesday posted a 7.8% decline in its September sales to nearly $5.5 billion, compared with $5.9 billion for the same month in fiscal 2012.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores decreased by 10.3% in September and by a day-fall adjusted 6.8%. Last month — which had one additional Saturday and Sunday and one fewer Thursday and Friday, compared with September 2011 — negatively impacted prescriptions filled in comparable stores by 3.5 percentage points. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores also were negatively impacted by 0.4 percentage point due to fewer flu shots versus last year, but were positively impacted by 0.1 percentage point due to the higher incidence of flu in September 2012.

September pharmacy sales decreased 12.3%, while comparable-store pharmacy sales decreased 16.1%. Calendar day shifts negatively impacted pharmacy sales in comparable stores by 3.5 percentage points. Comparable-store pharmacy sales were negatively impacted by 8.4 percentage points due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months. Pharmacy sales accounted for 63.7% of total sales for the month.

Total front-end sales decreased 0.4%, compared with the year-ago period, while comparable-store front-end sales decreased 1.5%. Customer traffic in comparable stores decreased 2.3% while basket size increased 0.8%.

Sales in comparable stores decreased by 11.1% in September. Calendar day shifts negatively impacted total comparable sales by 2.2 percentage points, while generic drug introductions in the last 12 months negatively impacted total comparable sales by 5.3 percentage points.

Walgreens also highlighted the launch of its Balance Rewards loyalty program, which debuted Sept. 16 and recorded nearly 13 million registrations during the month.

Calendar year-to-date sales were nearly $52 billion, a decrease of 3.8% from about $54 billion in 2011. Walgreens fiscal year began Sept. 1, so fiscal year-to-date sales are the same as the month's sales.

Walgreens opened 15 stores during September, including two relocations.