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Walgreen December Same-Store Sales Up 0.4%, Edging Past Views

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Walgreen Co.'s (WAG) same-store sales inched up 0.4% in December amid a milder flu season and the looming loss of major customer Express Scripts Inc. (ESRX), whose contract with the drugstore chain expired at the end of the year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected same-store sales to decline 0.1% in December. The largest drugstore chain in the U.S. posted higher same-store sales in each month of 2011, though December's gain was the weakest. Walgreen last month unveiled a plan to cut costs to help protect profits in anticipation of client losses from the failure to renew a contract with pharmacy-benefits manager Express Scripts. On Thursday, the company estimated the dispute negatively affected comparable prescriptions filled in Decemeber by roughly 1.5 percentage points. For last month, same-store front-end sales increased 0.6%, well below analysts' projections of a 2.1% increase, while same-pharmacy sales were up 0.2%, beating expectations for a 0.4% decline. Pharmacy sales accounted for 58.4% of total sales for the month. Flu shots administered at pharmacies and clinics season-to-date were 5.3 million versus 6 million last year. Elsewhere in the drugstore universe, smaller rival Rite-Aid Corp. (RAD) on Thursday reported its same-store sales increased 3.6% in December, with a 0.7% increase in the front end of the store and a 5.2% jump in pharmacy same-store sales. Analysts expect Rite Aid and CVS Caremark Corp. (CVS) each to gain market share as Express Scripts customers are forced to shift their prescriptions away from Walgreen. Roughly a third of Rite Aid stores are within a mile of a Walgreen location. Shares of Walgreen were up 1.1% to $33.20 in trade before the market open. Shares of Rite-Aid were up a penny from its Wednesday close at $1.25. -By Mia Lamar, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3207; mia.lamar@dowjones.com

Stock News for Rite Aid (RAD)
DateTimeHeadline
05/26/201509:00:00The Rite Aid Foundationâs KidCents Program Donates $1.3 Million t...
05/21/201508:41:00Rite Aid to Present at the Citi Global Consumer Conference May...
05/20/201511:00:00Rite Aidâs Mike Podgurski Named 2015 Honorary President by t...
05/18/201511:08:00Rite Aid Launches Integrated Marketing Campaign to Introduce...
05/15/201516:11:19Additional Proxy Soliciting Materials (definitive) (defa14a)
05/15/201516:10:48Additional Proxy Soliciting Materials (definitive) (defa14a)
05/15/201516:06:00Proxy Statement (definitive) (def 14a)
05/06/201508:00:00Rite Aidâs RediClinic and MultiCare Health System Announce J...
05/04/201508:01:00Rite Aid to Deliver Even More Value to Customers through wellness...
05/02/201514:52:18Rite Aid's Hold Rating Reiterated at Jefferies Group (RAD)
04/30/201508:30:00Rite Aid Reports Same Store Sales for April
04/27/201516:34:34Current Report Filing (8-k)
04/27/201515:58:00Whooping Cough Vaccine Readily Available in 139 Washington State...
04/25/201509:01:02Rite Aidâs Incredible Turnaround: Beyond the Numbers
04/23/201515:59:23Annual Report (10-k)
04/21/201516:33:25Current Report Filing (8-k)
04/20/201509:28:00Steve Rempel Named Rite Aid Senior Vice President and Chief Information...
04/17/201515:41:14Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
04/14/201515:45:21Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
04/14/201515:09:13Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)

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