Walgreens October Sales Dropped By 2.1 Percent ‘Due’ To Hurricane Sandy

Walgreens Company (NYSE:WAG) reported a 2.1 percent sales decline for the month of October from $6.13 billion last year to the current $6 billion including the impact of hurricane Sandy.

According to the company, its total comparable stores sales dropped by 5.9 percent in October, due to weak customer traffic. Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) said its comparable stores were negatively affected by generic drug introductions by 5.8 percent within the past 12 months.

Walgreens October Sales Dropped By 2.1 Percent 'Due' To Hurricane Sandy

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The sales decline in comparable stores higher than the 4.4 percent consensus expectations of analysts, based on the survey conducted by Thomson Reuters.

Walgreens Company (NYSE:WAG) posted a 1.5 percent decline in total front-end sales in October while its same store front-end sales dropped by 2.9 percent. Analysts estimated an increase in same store front-end sales of 0.3 percent in October.

The company’s pharmacy sales dropped by 2.6 percent, and its comparable store pharmacy sales declined by 7.5 percent. According to the company, its day-fall adjusted (DFA) comparable pharmacy sales reduced by 9 percent due to the introduction of generic drugs within the past 12 months. Walgreens pharmacy sales accounted 64.8 percent of its total sales for the month of October.

Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) reported that the numbers of prescriptions filled in comparable stores declined by 1.8 percent citing a calendar shift of one additional Tuesday and Wednesday, and less than one Saturday and Sunday in October this year.

The company noted that its DFA prescriptions, filled in comparable stores, increased by 0.2 percent, due to a higher number of people, who suffered from flu in October. Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) administered almost 3.6 million flu shots, season-to-date at pharmacies and clinics. Last year, the company administered approximately 4 million flu shots.

In a statement, Wade Miquelon, chief financial officer of Walgreens said, “Our strategic decision not to pursue unprofitable promotions resulted in solid margins for the month as we continue to focus on gross profit dollar growth.”

During the height of hurricane Sandy, Walgreen Company (NYSE:WAG) closed 750 stores. Excluding the impact of hurricane Sandy, Walgreens comparable store front-end sales declined by 2.4 percent, and while the sales decline in prescriptions filled in comparable stores was 4.6 percent adjusted to calendar shifts.

According to the company, the number of people registered in its Walgreens Balance Rewards loyalty program is 28 million since its launching last September.