Walgreen's Holiday Sales Drag - TheStreet

Walgreen's Holiday Sales Drag

Walgreen posts a 20% jump in quarterly profit, helped by prescription drugs and flu shots. But the drugstore is seeing weakness in December.
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(Walgreen article updated with stock price.)

DEERFIELD, Ill. (

TheStreet

) --

Walgreen

(WAG)

posted a 20% jump in first-quarter earnings, boosted by prescription drug sales and flu shots. But those benefits are lessing in December.

Walgreen earned $489 million, or 49 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $408 million, or 41 cents, in the year-ago period. Analysts expected Walgreen to earn 48 cents a share.

Revenue grew 9.5% to $16.36 billion, while same-store sales advanced 4.9%. Prescription same-store sales rose 6.1%, while front-end sales gained 2.7%.

"Consumer concerns over high unemployment and the challenging economy were a drag on holiday sales at the end of November, and we've seen a similar pattern through mid-December," Chief Executive Greg Wasson said in a statement. "Like every Christmas season, our performance is driven by the final days, which makes this an important week."

Shares of the drugstore are falling about 3% in morning trading to $35.55.

Last week rival

Rite Aid

(RAD) - Get Report

reported its

10th consecutive quarterly loss

, albeit, a smaller loss than expected.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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>>Rite Aid Spikes as it Narrows Loss

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