API says Q1 trading ahead of last year

Drugs distributor and retailer Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (API) has reported a lift in first quarter sales, continuing the positive trend seen in previous months.
API said today sales for the three months to November 30 rose 16 per cent at $770 million, from the corresponding quarter a year ago.
Chief executive Stephen Roche said total sales from the retail division, which sells health and beauty products in Priceline and Priceline Pharmacy stores, rose seven per cent to $161.6 million.
"In the first quarter, API has recorded same store growth of six per cent in Priceline's corporate stores and same store growth of 14.6 per cent in the Priceline Pharmacy franchise, both showing strength in the brand in a competitive market," Mr Roche said.
The pharmacy division, which provides wholesale distribution, business and marketing services to pharmacies, recorded sales of $597.7 million in the first quarter, an increase of 19 per cent.
"Overall, our performance is reinforcing that the focus on our core business is yielding growth," Mr Roche said.
In June, API reported a net loss of $11.27 million for the financial year ended April 30.
The company subsequently changed its reporting year to end on August 31, to bring it into line with other retailers, and for the four months from April to the end of August, booked a net loss of $2.6 million.
But revenue for the four months rose 7.8 per cent to $940.3 million, which was ahead of expectations.
Mr Roche said in October, when the results for the four months were announced, that API's underlying business had made good progress over the prior 12 months and were well placed to post positive results in future.
Shares in API, which holds its annual general meeting in Sydney tomorrow, fell three cents to $1.73 in a weaker broader market.

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