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CVS Beats Wall Street Although Front End Comps Lag

For the three months ended December 31, CVS Health posted company net income of $1.71 billion, or $1.59 per diluted share, versus $1.5 billion, or $1.34 per diluted share, in the 2015 period.

The company recorded adjusted net income from continuing operations of $1.83 billion, or $1.71 per diluted share, versus $1.7 billion, or $1.53 per diluted share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted company net income from continuing operations per diluted share exceeded a MarketBeat-published analyst average estimate of $1.67.

Operating profit for the quarter was $3 billion versus $2.73 billion in the year-prior period, according to CVS. Net revenues were $46 billion versus $41.15 billion in the 2015 quarter,

Operating profit for the fourth quarter advanced $242 million in the Pharmacy Services segment and slipped $53 million in the Retail/LTC segment, the company reported. The Pharmacy Services segment operating profit included the favorable impact of a of $88 million accrual reversal in connection with a legal settlement. The Retail/LTC segment operating profit included acquisition-related integration costs of $87 million in fiscal 2016 versus $52 million in fiscal 2015 and a 2016 asset impairment charge of $34 million recorded in connection with a 2017 store rationalization effort, CVS indicated.

Comparable store sales decreased 0.7% in the fourth quarter versus the previous-year period, with pharmacy comps up 0.2% and front store comps, including general merchandise, down 2.9%. Softer customer traffic and efforts to rationalize promotional strategies, partially offset by an increase in basket size, effected front store comps, CVS asserted.

For the full fiscal year, company net income was $5.32 billion, or $4.90 per diluted share, versus $5.24 billion, or $4.63 per diluted share, in the year earlier, CVS maintained. Company adjusted net income from continuing operations was $6.3 billion, or $5.84 billion per share, versus $5.81 billion, or $5.16 billion, in the 2015 fiscal year

Operating profit was $10.34 billion versus $9.45 billion in the year prior, CVS maintained. Net revenues were $177.53 billion versus $153.29 billion in fiscal 2015. Comps increased 1.9% in the fiscal year versus the fiscal year before, with pharmacy comps up 3.2% and front store comps down 1.5%.

CVS president and CEO Larry Merlo said, “In 2016, we delivered strong results across the enterprise, with revenues up nearly 16% and adjusted EPS up more than 13%. Adjusted EPS in the fourth quarter came in just above the high end of our guidance. We also generated more than $8 billion in free cash for the full year, exceeding our expectation, and we returned more than $6 billion to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. Our substantial cash generation capabilities provide opportunities to bolster our growth, and we will continue to be thoughtful and disciplined with respect to using our free cash to return value to shareholders.”