Retailers, consumers and prices
Check Out Line: Walgreen sales catch a cold
Check out a dose of bad medicine for Walgreen.
Analysts had expected the No. 1 U.S. drugstore chain operator to post a 2.2 percent increase in same-store sales. But the company instead posted a surprise 1.1 percent drop.
Among factors that hurt the company were a calendar shift. This January had one less weekday in it than last year. That might not seem like a big deal, but Walgreen fills more prescriptions during the week so the shift cut 1.3 percentage points from the same-store sales increase.
Pharmacy same-store sales fell 1.2 percent, a decline made worse by the fact that some of those sales have were in the form of H1N1 flu shots, a one-time item.
The same-store sales decline was also the second monthly surprise in a row.
The problem has also infected the entire store, with general merchandise sales also down.
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