Walgreens Boots Posts Strong First Quarter

For the first quarter ended November 30, Walgreens Boots Alliance posted company net earnings of $1.11 billion, or $1.01 per diluted share, versus $850 million, or 89 cents per diluted share, in the year-ago period. Net sales were $29.03 billion versus $19.55 billion in the 2014 quarter.

The increase in net sales largely resulted from the inclusion of Alliance Boots consolidated results with comparable store sales in the United States also contributing.

Adjusted company first quarter net earnings increased 51.1% to $1.1 billion versus the quarter a year earlier, Walgreens Boots asserted, with adjusted company earnings per diluted share increasing to $1.03.

On average, analyst polled by Thomson Reuters estimated that Walgreens Boots would earn 96 cents per diluted share in the first quarter.

The company’s retail pharmacy USA division, principally operations of Walgreens and Duane Reade stores, had first quarter total sales of $20.4 billion, up 4.2% over the year-prior quarter. Sales in comparable stores increased 5.8% compared with the same quarter a year ago. Comparable retail sales decreased 0.6% in the quarter, the company reported, primarily due to a reduction in unprofitable promotions and the transitioning of seasonal items away from holiday decorations and toward higher quality, giftable items.

“The year has started with a comparatively strong first quarter, as we expected,” stated Walgreens’ executive vice chairman and CEO, Stefano Pessina. “Our ongoing work to control costs across Walgreens Boots Alliance and improve adjusted operating income margins is growing earnings overall. Although it is early in the year, we are on track to deliver against our expectations.”

In addition, the company stated that its proposed acquisition of Rite Aid Corp. is progressing as planned. It added that Rite Aid has scheduled a special meeting of its stockholders for February 4 that will include consideration of and a vote on a proposal to approve a merger plan.

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