In its earnings report delivered on Thursday, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NYSE:WAG) announced that sales were up a smart 35.5% in the February quarter, boosted by a worse-than-average cold season. Moreover, the firm’s ongoing restructuring was to continue, and that it planned to shutter 200 domestic stores over the next few quarters as part of the program.
More on Walgreens restructuring
The retail pharmacy chain said it will pursue more cost savings in its Retail Pharmacy USA segment (Duane Reade and Walgreens), and now expected to save $1.5 billion by the end of 2017, nearly tripling its previous estimate of restructuring savings.
In its earnings conference call, Walgreens’ execs noted the company was still looking for a permanent CEO, and continued to work with a recruiting firm. Former CEO Greg Wasson retired after the drugstore chain’s purchase of Alliance Boots early this year.
The merger between the two retail pharmacy titans resulted in a firm with more than 12,800 locations in 11 countries, as well as a very profitable drug distribution business. Walgreens officially changed its name to Walgreens Boots Alliance and its stock symbol to WBA after the merger.
Details on the Walgreens earnings report
In its report for the February quarter, the company noted U.S. retail pharmacy sales were up 6.9% excluding newly opened or closed locations. Prescriptions filled also moved up a solid 5%. Of note, prescription represented 64.4% of sales in the quarter, driven by a long cold and flu season.
Walgreens posted a net profit of $2.06 billion ($1.93 a share), up from $716 million (74 cents a share) in the same quarter last year. Ex special items, earnings per share came to $1.18, relative to 97 cents the prior year.
Overall sales increased to $26.6 billion, an impressive move up from $19.6 billion.
Consensus analyst estimates had been for sales of $27.78 billion and EPS of 95 cents.
Walgreens offered guidance of an EPS between $3.45 and $3.65 for the year ending in August. The firm also also reiterated its prior earnings outlook for fiscal 2016.