Walgreen's revenue from established stores climbed higher than analysts expected in July, prodded by prescription sales and customers who made up for a drop in visits by purchasing more when they shopped.
The Deerfield, Illinois, drugstore chain said Tuesday its revenue from established stores rose 5.2 percent last month compared to July 2013. That included a 7.6 gain from pharmacy sales and a 1.1 percent rise from the front-end, or the rest of its stores.
Analysts expected a 4.5 percent gain overall and a 6.2 percent increase from the pharmacy, according to Thomson Reuters. They also forecast slightly better front-end growth of 1.2 percent.
Revenue from stores open at least a year is a key indicator of a retailer's health, because it excludes the impact of recently opened or closed stores.
Walgreen runs the nation's largest drugstore chain with nearly 8,200 locations. It said customer traffic at its established stores fell 2.6 percent last month, but basket size, or the amount they purchased, climbed 3.7 percent.
The company said its revenue grew even though a shifting calendar hurt business. Last month had one fewer Monday and one additional Thursday compared to July 2013, and Mondays are typically the busiest day of the week for Walgreen stores.
Company shares climbed 17 cents to $72.28 Tuesday morning, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index fell slightly.