Despite Slower Flu Season, Walgreens Boosts Q2 Sales

For the second quarter ended February 29, Walgreens Boots Alliance posted company earnings of $930 million, or 85 cents per diluted share, versus $2.04 billion, or $1.93 per diluted share, in the period a year earlier. Company adjusted net earnings were $1.42 billion, or $1.31 per diluted share, versus $1.24 billion, or $1.18 per diluted share, in the fiscal 2014 quarter.

Walgreens Boots beat a Zacks Investment Research analyst average estimate of $1.27 per adjusted share.

Net sales were $30.18 billion, versus $26.57 billion, in the prior-year period. Operating income was $1.86 billion, compared to $1.38 billion in the previous year quarter.

Second quarter total sales at the retail pharmacy USA division, principally consisting of Walgreens and Duane Reade drug store and related operations, were $21.5 billion, an advance of 2.1% versus the year-prior quarter, the company maintained. Comparable store sales increased 2.2% versus the quarter a year prior. Comparable pharmacy sales increased 3.7% while comparable front end, or retail sales including home-related merchandise, slipped 0.3%, a decline Walgreens Boots attributed to weak cough, cold and flu product movement. On the other side of the coin, the company emphasized, gift, wellness and private label products generated relatively strong sales.

Walgreens Boots executive vice chairman and CEO, Stefano Pessina, said, “We continued to make good progress in the quarter in reducing costs and establishing more efficient working practices, which contributed to overall adjusted earnings growth. Looking ahead, we remain on track to achieve our expectations for this fiscal year, as we work to mitigate lower pharmacy reimbursement rates and challenging retail sales environments.”

The company noted that its proposed acquisition of Rite Aid Corporation, which was announced in 2015, is progressing as planned with Rite Aid’s stockholders approving the transaction in February. The transaction is still subject to other customary closing conditions. Walgreens Boots Alliance is continuing its integration planning and expects the transaction to close in the second half of 2016.

Walgreens Boots Alliance operates over 13,100 stores in 11 countries.