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WALGREEN PHARMACY SALES INCREASE 17% THROUGH SIX MONTHS ENDING FEB. 29

Executive Summary

Walgreen Co. pharmacy sales increased 17% for the six months ended Feb. 29, the company reported March 30. Prescription sales in stores that had been open for at least a year were up 14.1% for the first half of the company's fiscal year. For the quarter, pharmacy sales increased 17.4%, Walgreen said. Total sales for the six months increased 11.5%, to $3.75 bil. For the quarter, sales were up 11.9%, topping $2 bil., Walgreen said. Earnings growth surpassed sales increases. For the six months, earnings rose 13% to $112.6 mil. For the quarter, earnings were up 14.3% to $77.1 mil. The earnings results were helped by a one- time charge taken in the year-ago period of $4.1 mil. for closing Walgreen's Memphis distribution center, the company noted. Excluding the charge, earnings grew 10.2% for the six months and 10.1% for the quarter. "Profitability was helped by good cost control measures, which lowered both headquarters and store salary expenses as a percentage of sales," Walgreen said. "Advertising and store occupancy expenses as a percent of sales were also lower for the quarter. These were partially offset by higher insurance expenses." Walgreen opened 47 new stores during the six months, the company noted. As of March 31, the company operated 1,692 stores in 29 states and Puerto Rico compared to 1,599 last year. The company expects to open a total of 110 new stores this year, and 125 next year. Two generic firms reported impressive 1991 sales growth. Royce Labs announced a 32.4% increase in revenues for the year ended Dec. 31, 1991, as revenues climbed to $2 mil. Halsey Drug sales increased 42% in 1991. Net sales reached $37.5 mil. for the year. Halsey Drug's fourth quarter sales grew even more strongly than its annual sales, up 46% to $11.4 mil. Net income for the year was $1.7 mil., up 72%. For the quarter, net income was up 39% to $451,000.

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