Walgreens Posts Strong December Sales Increase of 7.2%

December was a strong month for Walgreens (Nasdaq:WAG) as the company saw a 7.2 percent increase in sales and 6.1 percent comparable-store sales increase due to strong pharmacy sales and an increase in customers filling prescriptions. The company also reported calendar 2013 sales of $73.72 billion, an increase of 4.5 percent from $70.52 billion in 2012.

The company said total front-end sales increased 4 percent compared with the same month in fiscal 2013, while same-store front-end sales increased 2.5 percent. Same-store customer traffic decreased 1.3 percent, however, the drop was offset by a 3.8 percent increase in basket size as customers purchased more items per transaction.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased by 5.3 percent in December and increased 2.4 percent on a calendar day-shift adjusted basis. These calendar shifts positively impacted prescriptions filled at comparable stores by 290 basis points. December pharmacy sales increased by 10.2 percent, while comparable store pharmacy sales increased 9 percent. Pharmacy sales accounted for 58.3 percent of total sales for the month.

In December, the company closed six stores, acquired three stores and opened five stores in December, including a relocation.

The strong December results come on the heels of Walgreens' strong fiscal first-quarter earnings. The company said profit soared 68 percent in Q1, partly due to investments that the chain has made in other companies such as Alliance Boots, the largest drugstore operator in the U.K.. Walgreens reported net earnings of $695 million, or 72 cents per share, compared to $413 million, or 43 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

For more see:
-This Walgreens earning statement

Related stories:
Walgreens, Rite Aid Post Strong Quarterly Earnings
Walgreens November Sales Increase 4%
Walgreens, CVS Report Strong Third Quarter Earnings
Walgreens Earnings Hike Signals Pharmacy Strength
Walgreens Shifts 180,000 Employees To Health Exchange