Walgreen Co. March sales increase 10.4 percent; 4,000th store opens

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Walgreen Co. had March sales of $2,750,950,000, an increase of 10.4 percent from $2,491,106,000 for the same month in 2002. Sales in comparable stores (those open at least a year) rose 5.7 percent.

This year's March sales were affected by an unfavorable comparison to a March Easter season last year versus an April Easter this year (March 31 last year compared to April 20 this year). Next month, Walgreens will report total and comparable store sales for both April and for the combined months of March and April.

March pharmacy sales increased 17.3 percent, while comparable pharmacy sales rose 12.8 percent. Total prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased 6.7 percent.

Calendar year-to-date sales were $8,026,184,000, an increase of 11.7 percent from $7,184,648,000 in 2002.

Fiscal year-to-date sales for the seven months were $18,681,914,000, up 13.0 percent from $16,539,046,000 in 2002. Comparable store sales for the fiscal year to date increased 7.8 percent.

Comparable store front-end sales decreased 4.6 percent during March.

Walgreens opened 18 stores during March, including its 4,000th store, located at Coldwater Canyon and Magnolia in Van Nuys, Calif. Of the store openings, two were relocations.

At March 31 the company operated 4,014 drugstores in 43 states and Puerto Rico, versus 3,706 a year ago.
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