Deerfieldo-based Walgreen's revenue from established stores climbed 4.4 percent last month as more freely spending shoppers trumped a slight decrease in store traffic.
The Deerfield company said Wednesday that revenue from the pharmacies of its established stores climbed 5.5 percent, while sales outside the pharmacy rose 2.6 percent.
Analysts forecast, on average, an overall revenue from established stores of 4.9 percent, according to Thomson Reuters. They also forecast 6.4 percent growth from the pharmacy and 2.2 percent from the front end.
Revenue from stores open at least a year is considered a key indicator of a retailer's financial health. It strips away the volatility of recently opened or closed stores.
Walgreen Co. said its revenue grew despite a hit from the shifting calendar. May 2014 had one more Saturday and one fewer Wednesday compared to May 2013. Drugstores tend to record more sales on weekdays, when people visit to fill prescriptions after seeing their doctors.
The company said customer visits to established stores dropped less than 1 percent, but the amount they spent climbed 3.1 percent.
Prescriptions filled at established stores also climbed 3.5 percent last month, and pharmacy sales accounted for 64 percent of Walgreen's May total.
Walgreen is the nation's largest drugstore chain, and it ran 8,216 stores at the end of the month, or 120 more than it did a year ago.
The company said total revenue for its fiscal third quarter, which ended May 31, rose 6.4 percent to $19.47 billion, compared to last year. Walgreen will report full results from that quarter on June 24.
Company shares climbed 3.6 percent, or $2.58, to $74.14 in late-morning trading, while broader indexes were nearly flat.