The stock price of Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) increased more than 4% to $74.71 per share after the largest drugstore chain in the United States reported strong sales performance last month that beat the estimates of Wall Street analysts.

Walgreen

Walgreen May sales results

Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) reported that its sales for the month of May rose 6% to $6.57 billion from $6.19 billion recorded in the same period a year ago. According to the drug store chain, its front-end sales climbed 3% and comparable-store front-end sales increased 2.6%. Its comparable store customer traffic declined 5%, while its basket size expanded 3.1%.

Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) said pharmacy sales grew 7.9% and comparable store pharmacy sales went up 5.5%. The company’s pharmacy sales accounted for 64.2% of its total sales in May. The drugstore chain said its comparable store sales increased 4.4% last month. Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) said generic drug introductions over the past 12 months negatively affected its total comparable store sales by 0.8%. The number of prescriptions filled at its comparable stores rose 3.5%.

Mark Miller, an analyst at William Blair & Co., commented, “The improved May quarter sales enhance visibility on earnings.”

Walgreen third quarter total sales

Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) reported that its total sales for its fiscal 2014 third quarter that ended May 31 increased 6.4% to $19.47 billion. Its comparable store sales for the quarter grew 51%, while its front-end comparable store sales climbed expanded 2.2%.

The company said its year-to-date sales for the first nine months of its fiscal 2014 were $57.42 billion, an increase of 5.8% from $54.28 billion in fiscal 2013.

Store updates

Last month, Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) opened eight stores and acquired one store. The company closed 23 stores as part of its previously announced initiatives to enhance its asset base by closing a total of 76 drugstores in the second half of fiscal 2014. The company operated a total of 8,683 stores as of May 31. Walgreen also owns a 45% stake in Alliance Boots, the largest pharmacy-led drug retailer in Europe.

Separately, the Sacramento Bee reported that Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) reached an agreement with Missouri State Attorney General Chris Koster, wherein an independent auditor will conduct random price checks at its stores over the next three years.The company also agreed to pay for the quarterly audit inspection of at least 25% stores in the state.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Attorney General that allows us to continue to operate within our previously established business practices,” said Jim Graham, a spokesperson for Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG). He added, “These practices are consistent with our 113-year history of acting in our customers’ best interests and ensuring their trust.”