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