Walgreens Boots Stock Jumps As Pharmacy Sales Power Q4 Earnings Beat

By Martin Baccardax

Walgreens Boots Alliance  (WBA Get Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc Report posted stronger-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Thursday as pharmacy and retail sales gains boosted the Dow component's bottom line.

Walgreens said diluted non-GAAP earnings for the three months ending in August, the Dow component's fiscal fourth quarter, were pegged at $1.17 per share, well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of $1.02 per share and a 14.75% increase from last year. Group revenues, Walgreens said, rose 12.8% to $34.3 billion, again topping analysts' estimates of a $33.3 billion tally.

Comparable store sales in the U.S. were up 8.1%, Walgreens said. Prescription fillings were up 8.8% from last year, while pharmacy sales rose 6.7%. The group also added that it provided 13.5 million COVID vaccinations over the quarter, taking its fiscal 2021 total to 34.6 million. 

 “Our fourth quarter and fiscal year results exceeded expectations, driven by strong performance in our core business," said CEO Roz Brewer. "Comparable U.S. pharmacy and retail sales both saw robust growth and recovery continued in our UK business as COVID-19 restrictions eased in the quarter."

"I remain extremely proud of our team members' unwavering commitment to meeting the needs of our patients, customers and communities," Brewer added. "The role of the pharmacist and local pharmacy is now more vital than ever.”  

Walgreens Boots shares were marked 2.4% higher in pre-market trading immediately following the earnings release to indicate an opening bell price of $48.40 each, a move that would extend the stocks' year-to-date gain to around 21.41%. 

Last month, Walgreens was linked to a takeover of Evolent Health  (EVH Get Evolent Health Inc Class A Report following Bloomberg News report that it was targeting the healthcare IT firm following its $970 million investment to take a majority stake in Shields Health Solutions, a specialty pharmacy group.

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