(By Balaseshan) Drugstore chain Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) said sales for the month of November declined 3.9 percent as prescriptions filled at comparable stores fell 2.9 percent due to fewer flu shots.
The Deerfield, Illinois-based company said November sales were $5.85 billion and total front-end sales dropped 0.3 percent, while comparable store front-end sales declined 1.7 percent. Sales in comparable stores declined 6.2 percent.
"This year's November had one additional Thursday and Friday and one fewer Tuesday and Wednesday compared with November 2011, negatively impacting prescriptions filled in comparable stores by 0.3 percentage points," the company said.
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Walgreen's pharmacy sales went down 4.7 percent, while comparable store pharmacy sales were off 8.8 percent due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months, the company said.
During the month of November, Walgreens opened 39 stores, including 10 relocations and closed one.
As of Nov. 30, Walgreens operated 8,516 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.
For the first quarter that ended on Nov. 30, total sales declined 4.5 percent to $17.34 billion from $18.16 billion in the previous year quarter, lower than market expectations of $17.62 billion. Comparable store sales decreased 7.7 percent, while front-end comparable store sales declined 2.0 percent.
Prescriptions filled at comparable stores decreased 4.6 percent and total prescriptions decreased 3.0 percent in the first quarter. Comparable pharmacy sales fell 10.8 percent.
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WAG shares, which have been trading between $28.53 and $37.35 over the past year, closed Tuesday's regular session down 0.03% at $34.27.