Walgreens Sales Up in 3Q

Deerfield, Ill. Walgreens said sales increased 9.6% to a record $15.0 billion for its third quarter ended May 31, and 10.2% to $44.4 billion for the first nine months.

Net earnings for the quarter rose 2.0% to $572 million from $561 million in the same quarter a year ago. Meanwhile, same-store sales were up 3.4% in the quarter, while front-end comparable drug store sales rose 4.6% in the quarter.

Walgreens recorded a LIFO provision of $16.1 million in this year’s quarter vs. a credit of $3.5 million in last year’s third quarter. Last year’s quarter also included a $13.5 million credit from the resolution of a multiyear state tax matter.

Net earnings for the nine months increased 4.2% to $1.71 billion vs. last year’s $1.64 billion. Last year’s nine-month earnings also benefited from the previously mentioned lower LIFO rate and tax benefit.

“In a challenging economy, we continued investing in our future with a relentless focus on cost control,” said Walgreens chairman and CEO Jeffrey A. Rein. “We posted solid results while going up against a nearly 20% earnings increase in the year-ago quarter and a more robust economic environment.”

Walgreen said selling, general and administrative expense dollars in the current quarter grew 10.0% over the year-ago period. Expense control was strong across the company, including a decrease in the rate of store salary and expense growth as well as lower advertising expenses.

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