Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. reported a stronger profit for its latest quarter, a performance that comes as Rosalind Brewer begins to direct the drugstore chain as chief executive during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Walgreens on Wednesday reported a profit attributable to the company of $1.03 billion, or $1.19 a share, for its fiscal second quarter, compared with a profit of $946 million, or $1.07 a share, for the year-earlier period.
After adjustments, Walgreens reported earnings of $1.40 a share, above the $1.10 a share that analysts had expected for that metric.
Sales from continuing operations rose to $32.78 billion. The company also said it generated $4.8 billion in sales from discontinued operations in the quarter, implying total sales amounted to $37.58 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet had predicted $36.59 billion in total sales.
In the U.S., comparable sales fell 2%, and including a 4.5% drop for pharmacy products, the company said.
Walgreens Pharmacy check out cashier during Coronavirus Pandemic in Miami Beach, Florida on May 28, 2020. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Walgreens said a weak cough, cold and flu season, as well as fewer patient visits to doctors, hampered results. Meanwhile, demand for discretionary items, including beauty products, was down, it said.
In January, the company said it had hired Ms. Brewer to serve as CEO starting earlier this month. She took over the top role from Stefano Pessina, who now is executive chairman of its board.
Ms. Brewer formerly served as CEO of Sam's Club and chief operating officer at Starbucks Corp.
"I will continue to review closely all our initiatives, strategies and opportunities to capitalize fully on the incredible potential in front of us," she said in a statement Wednesday.
Executives at Walgreens have said the company is prepared to vaccinate millions of Americans against Covid-19. Vaccinations have been ramping up around the country, with states expanding vaccine eligibility to more adults.
The company also said Wednesday it has administered more than eight million vaccinations, including four million in March.