July 22, 2009 / 3:55 PM / in 8 years

UPDATE 2-Prescription sales right tonic for Shoppers Drug

* Q2 EPS C$0.63 vs C$0.58

* Revenue up 8.5 pct at C$2.29 bln

* Shares up 1.5 pct at C$48.18 (Adds analyst comments; updates share price)

By Scott Anderson

TORONTO, July 22 (Reuters) - Shoppers Drug Mart SC.TO, Canada’s biggest pharmacy chain, reported a higher quarterly profit on Wednesday that matched expectations, helped by stronger sales of prescription drugs and beauty care products.

Shoppers said it earned C$136.1 million ($123.7 million), or 63 Canadian cents a share, for the second quarter, ended June 20, up from C$126.6 million, or 58 Canadian cents a share, for the same period last year.

The company said the 2009 results were also helped by the inclusion of Easter holiday weekend sales.

Revenue climbed 8.5 percent to C$2.29 billion, with same store sales rising 5.7 percent.

Analysts had expected, on average, earnings per share of 63 Canadian cents before items and revenue of C$2.28 billion.

“It was in line with consensus and there wasn’t a whole lot of surprises,” said Candice Williams, an analyst at Genuity Capital Markets in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“They have obviously managed to weather the situation pretty well.”

Shoppers shares, which have fallen 12 percent in the past year, were up 1.5 percent at C$48.18 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Prescription drug sales on a same-store basis gained 5.6 percent. Total prescription sales climbed 9.8 percent to C$1.11 billion, accounting for 48.5 percent of the company’s sales mix, up from 47.9 percent for the same period last year.

Front-of-store sales, which include products such as cosmetics, candy and over-the-counter medications, jumped 7.4 percent to C$1.18 billion, excluding tobacco, on a same-store basis.

Shoppers opened or bought 27 drug stores in the quarter, including eight relocations. At the end of the quarter, the company had 1,259 stores, including 1,159 drug stores and 66 Shoppers Home Health Care stores, which supply medical equipment and devices, and two Murale stores, a stand-alone luxury beauty brand it opened last year.

$1=$1.10 Canadian Reporting by Scott Anderson; editing by Rob Wilson

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