(By Balaseshan) Drugstore chain Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) said sales for the month of December declined 4 percent as prescriptions filled at comparable stores fell 2.3 percent due to calendar day shifts.
The Deerfield, Illinois-based company said December sales were $6.71 billion and total front-end sales dropped 1.3 percent, while comparable store front-end sales declined 2.3 percent. Sales in comparable stores declined 6.1 percent.
"This year's December had one additional Sunday and Monday and one fewer Thursday and Friday compared with December 2011, negatively impacting prescriptions filled in comparable stores by 2.3 percentage points," the company said.
Walgreen's pharmacy sales went down 4.9 percent, while comparable store pharmacy sales were off 8.9 percent due to generic drug introductions in the last 12 months, the company said.
During the month of December, Walgreen opened seven stores, including one acquired and closed four.
As of Dec. 31, Walgreen operated 8,524 locations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.
For the first four months that's fiscal 2013 year-to-date, total sales declined 4.4 percent to $24.03 billion. Calendar 2012 sales were $70.51 billion, a decrease of 3.7 percent.
WAG shares, which have been trading between $28.53 and $38.41 over the past year, closed Thursday's regular session at $37.79.