UPDATE 1-Shoppers Drug Mart profit rises slightly

Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:28am EDT
 
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* Second-qtr earnings-per-share C$0.73 vs C$0.69 year earlier

* Same-store sales rise 2 percent as more prescriptions filled

July 18 (Reuters) - Shoppers Drug Mart Corp, which has agreed to be bought by grocer Loblaw Co Ltd, reported a slight increase in second-quarter profit, as its shops filled more prescriptions.

Net income for Canada's biggest pharmacy chain rose just over 1 percent to C$147 million ($141 million), or 73 Canadian cents per share, from C$145 million, or 69 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Sales at established stores, a key measure for retailers, rose 2 percent. Total sales rose 3 percent to C$2.54 billion.

As well as filling more prescriptions for customers, Shoppers said its MediSystem Pharmacy unit, which provides dispensing and clinical pharmacy consulting services to long term care facilities, also had a strong quarter.

Pharmacy same-store sales increased more than 1 percent. The number of prescriptions dispensed at retail increased 7 percent in the quarter, the company said.

Monday's C$12.4 billion deal for Loblaw, Canada's largest grocer, to buy Shoppers was at a 27 percent premium to the target's closing share price last Friday.

It comes at a time when Canadian retailers are feeling the pressure from a U.S. invasion of big box stores and domestic consolidation.

Shoppers' network of pharmacies, particularly in lucrative, dense urban neighborhoods, made it attractive to Loblaw.

Shares of Shoppers, which also operates Murale luxury spas, closed at C$60.25 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday.