Walgreen Sales Dive in September


Same-store sales at Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) dropped 7.8% in September, compared with sales in September 2011, from $5.94 billion to $5.48 billion. Customer traffic fell 2.3% while the average sales ticket rose by 0.8%.

The biggest problem was prescription sales, down 10.3% at comparable stores. Total pharmacy sales were down 12.3% year-over-year for the month, while same-store pharmacy sales fell 16.1%. Pharmacy sales accounted for 63.7% of September sales.

Walgreen's contract dispute with Express Scripts Holding Co. (NASDAQ: ESRX) was not resolved in time to have a positive impact on September sales. Now the question becomes whether Walgreen can win back those customers it lost during the period when it had no contract with the country's largest pharmacy benefits manager. Walgreen said it lost $0.06 per share in earnings during its most recent fiscal quarter due to the loss of its Express Scripts contract.

Shares are trading down 1.7% at $36.30 in a 52-week range of $28.53 to $37.35, a new high posted yesterday.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Retail Tagged: ESRX, WAG