Walgreen Rises on Sales Gain - TheStreet

Walgreen

(WAG)

said same-store sales in September were up 12.9% vs. the year-ago period on strong prescription volume. Prescription sales rose 10%, and non-prescription revenue was also up 6.4%.

Walgreen shares were up $1.23, or about 4%, to $32.75 on the news.

On Monday the company reported fourth-quarter results that met expectations, but only after including a one-time tax credit despite a 14% increase in year-over-year sales.

Total sales for September rose 18% to $2.8 billion from last year, including revenue from 341 new stores opened since last September. For the calendar year to date, total sales are up almost 14% to $24.6 billion.

The stock has been running in place since January, but the company seems well on its way to meeting consensus estimates for first-quarter revenue of $8.5 billion. The company is also expected to earn 24 cents per share for the quarter when it reports on Dec. 23.

At $31.77, Walgreen's stock is trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of 24 on the basis of 2004 First Call consensus earnings estimates and 21 based on 2005 estimates. In comparison, First Call consensus has competitor

Rite Aid

(RAD) - Get Report

, which operates 3,404 stores, trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of 72 based on 2004 earnings estimates and 24 based on 2005 estimates.

CVS

(CVS) - Get Report

operates 4,087 stores and trades at 15 times 2004 earnings estimates and 13 times 2005 estimates.