WALGREEN QUARTER RESULTS POWER EXPANSION

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Walgreen Co., based here, last week announced record sales and earnings for the first quarter of fiscal year 2000 (ended Nov. 30), paving the road for further expansion.he company is gearing up for "the greatest expansion in our 99-year history."The fruits of expansion, though, are already being realized. The chain opened 94 stores (a net gain after closings and relocations of 73

DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Walgreen Co., based here, last week announced record sales and earnings for the first quarter of fiscal year 2000 (ended Nov. 30), paving the road for further expansion.

he company is gearing up for "the greatest expansion in our 99-year history."

The fruits of expansion, though, are already being realized. The chain opened 94 stores (a net gain after closings and relocations of 73 stores) during the first quarter of fiscal year 2000 -- more than "in an entire year a decade ago," said Jorndt. "Expenses as a percent to sales continue to fall as they're spread over a larger store base," he said.

Store openings "far outpaced competitors," according to the company, which stated it will open its 3,000th unit this year. Walgreen would like to open 356 more stores over the remainder of fiscal 2000, it stated, with a net gain of 350 stores over all four quarters.

Providing an additional spark is Walgreen's on-line pharmacy, redesigned and launched in October. Walgreens.com is processing more than 2,000 prescriptions a day, according to president David Bernauer. "Although some patients take advantage of our mail delivery service, the vast majority choose to pick up their prescription at the store," he said. "This proves the clicks-and-mortar concept that we believe gives us a distinct advantage in the Internet arena."

Total sales in the quarter reached $4.8 billion -- a record spurred by a 20.1% jump. And in stores open more than a year, total sales were up 13.5%, the retailer said. Earnings per diluted share were up 13 cents (30% to $128 million) as compared with the same time last year, when earnings reached 10 cents per diluted share ($104 million).