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    Walgreen's Oct. Sales Up 6.8 Percent

    While over-the-counter items were important to the drug chain, pharmacy sales accounted for over half of revenue in the month.

    Deerfield, Ill.-based drug chain Walgreen reported October sales of $5.1 million on Tuesday, an increase of 6.8 percent from $4.8 million in October 2007. Comparable store sales rose 2 percent while comparable store front-end sales increased by 0.4 percent.

    The drug chain's pharmacy sales increased 6.5 percent in the month, while comparable pharmacy sales rose 2.8 percent. Walgreen said comparable pharmacy sales were hit by generic drug introductions in the last 12 months. Total prescriptions filled at comparable stores decreased 0.4 percent in October, negatively impacted by 0.6 percent due to the switch of Zyrtec from prescription to over-the-counter status. Pharmacy sales accounted for 66.5 percent of total sales.

    October front-end sales were helped in part by strong sales of consumables and beauty items. Also Zyrtec's switch to over-the-counter status helped front-end sales by 0.5 percent. Calendar year-to-date sales were $49.5 billion, an increase of 9.6 percent from $45.1 billion in 2007. The drug chain opened 71 stores during October and acquired one store. The chain noted that monthly sales numbers are preliminary and unaudited.

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