Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Flu vaccinations aid drugstores

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WALGREEN/

Check out Walgreen’s sales growth.

Walgreen Co, the largest U.S. drugstore chain, said on Friday that September sales at its stores open at least one year rose 5.3 percent, thanks to in-store flu vaccinations and people filling more 90-day prescriptions.

Sales of general merchandise, which consumers have been shying away from in past months, also rose for the first time since May for Walgreen.

Retailers began their seasonal flu vaccinations earlier than usual this year, amid raised awareness of the flu with the H1N1 pandemic. Pharmacy same-store sales rose 7 percent for Walgreen, with the number of prescriptions filled at existing stores jumping 12 percent, including 5.2 percentage points from pharmacists administering seasonal flu shots.

Walgreen, which administered 1.2 million seasonal flu vaccines in last year’s flu season, has already given more than 2.4 million this season and aims to administer 5 million.

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