Walgreens U.S. Retail Division Sees Sales Growth

For the second quarter ended February 28, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. announced that net earnings attributable to the company were $2.04 billion, or $1.93 per diluted share, versus $716 million, or 74 cents per diluted share, in the period a year earlier.

Walgreens and Alliance Boots merged in December, a move that, the company related as it made its second quarter financials announcement, will result in 200 closures among the drug stores it operates in the United States.

Net sales were $26.57 billion versus $19.61 billion in the period a year prior. Operating income was $1.38 billion versus $1.22 billion in the fiscal 2013 quarter, according to the company.

Adjusted fiscal 2015 second quarter net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance increased 33.2% to $1.2 billion and adjusted net earnings per diluted share increased 21.6% to $1.18 compared to the prior-year period, the company asserted.

A Zacks Investment Research average analyst estimate was for 94 cents per share.

With the combination of the two companies on December 31, 2014, Walgreens Boots Alliance organized operations into three segments: Retail Pharmacy USA, Retail Pharmacy International and Pharmaceutical Wholesale. Segment reporting for the second quarter includes the allocation of synergy benefits and the combined corporate costs for periods subsequent to 31 December 2014, the company noted.

The Retail Pharmacy USA division, including Walgreens and Duane Reade store operations, had second quarter sales of $21 billion, an increase of 7.4% from the year-earlier period. Overall comparable store sales gained 6.9% from the quarter a year ago while retail comps increased 2.5% with improved product margins, the company maintained.

Executive vice chairman and acting CEO Stefano Pessina stated, “This quarter marked a solid start for our new company, and I remain as optimistic as ever about our long-term future. At the same time, we understand the work that is needed to proactively address headwinds such as reimbursement pressure and competition. Our work includes several key areas of focus to create value.

“The first area is improving the performance of our businesses worldwide with an emphasis on operations. Second, we will be refreshing and reinvesting in the stores of our Retail Pharmacy USA division to improve the customer experience and expand retail margins. Third, we are restructuring our cost base, with a focus primarily in the USA, to create a more efficient cost model and become a more agile company. Through these efforts, Walgreens Boots Alliance is determined to lead the way in our industry and be at the forefront of innovative, pharmacy-led health care.”