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Walgreen Company March Results Outpace Rite Aid Corporation's

Today Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD  ) and Walgreen (NASDAQ: WBA  )  each reported sales for March, and the two drugstore chains had dramatically different results.

Walgreen announced that its comparable sales -- a metric measuring sales at stores that have been open for more than a year -- rose by 3.5%, and Rite Aid noted its same-store sales increased by less than one quarter of that amount at just 0.7%.

Each firm disclosed that its front-end sales decreased as a result of the timing of the Easter holiday -- on April 20 of this year versus March 31 of last year: Walgreen front-end sales fell 3.4% and Rite Aid's fell 5%. Rite Aid said the timing of the holiday was responsible for a 4.1% reduction in sales, whereas Walgreen did not disclose a specific amount in its press release.

In addition the firms both reported that pharmacy same-store sales rose, but once again the difference between the two was dramatic. Rite Aid saw its pharmacy sales rise by 3.5%, but suggested this was negatively affected by 1.3 percentage points as a result of the introduction of generic drugs. Walgreen noted its same-store pharmacy sales overall increased by 8%, but said it saw a drop of 1.6 percentage points from generic drugs.

Walgreen also noted it saw a positive impact of 0.9 percentage points from the timing of the calendar days, as March this year had one additional Monday and one less Friday versus 2013. Rite Aid did not disclose whether or not its pharmacy sales were positively or negatively affected by the shifting days.

Rite Aid saw its same-store total prescription count increase by 1.1% and Walgreen saw its prescriptions rise by 5.1%. In total, prescriptions accounted for 69.4% of sales at Rite Aid and 64.7% of sales at Walgreen.

Rite Aid was also outpaced by Walgreen in February, as its same-store -sales rose by 1.5%, whereas the comparable store sales at Walgreen rose by 4.5%.

Walgreen and Rite Aid are the nation's largest and third-largest drugstore chains, respectively, based on the number of stores. Walgreen had 8,221 drugstores at the end of last month, while Rite Aid operated 4,584. The second-largest, CVS Caremark Corp., which has more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores, doesn't report monthly sales publicly. 

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2014, at 6:03 PM, danialwilson wrote:

    The Walgreen sales growth rate is lower when compared with the average sales growth of 5.2% over the last three months

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2014, at 8:49 PM, annaarron wrote:

    Lower incidence of flu and the introduction of generic drugs over the last twelve months also impacted Walgreen’s top line growth, due to which the revenues of Walgreen has declined in past twelve months

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Patrick Morris

After a few stints in banking and corporate finance, Patrick joined the Motley Fool as a writer covering the financial sector. He's scaled back his everyday writing a bit, but he's always happy to opine on the latest headline news surrounding Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett and all things personal finance.

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