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Walgreens Quarterly Sales Fall on Fewer Prescriptions, Covid-19 Vaccinations


Walgreens saw a nearly 9% drop in U.S. pharmacy sales.


Jake Dockins for The Wall Street Journal

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.

WBA -2.05%

posted a 5.3% drop in revenue in its recently completed quarter as it filled fewer prescriptions and administered fewer Covid-19 vaccinations.

The Deerfield, Ill.-based drugstore chain saw a nearly 9% drop in U.S. pharmacy sales, after giving 2.9 million Covid-19 vaccinations and 3.4 million PCR tests in the period. This compares with 13.5 million vaccinations in the same period a year earlier.

The unit was also weighed down by declines in AllianceRX Walgreens, the company’s specialty and home-delivery pharmacy division.

Overall, Walgreens logged $32.4 billion in revenue for the fiscal fourth quarter ended Aug. 31, slightly ahead of the $32.09 billion expected by analysts recently polled by FactSet.

The company posted a net loss of $415 million, or 48 cents a share, compared with a profit of $358 million, or 41 cents, for the prior year. Walgreens said it registered a nearly $800 million noncash impairment charge related to its U.K. pharmacy chain business in the quarter, as well as higher costs related to a restructuring plan.

On an adjusted basis, excluding costs such as the acquisition of Shields Health Solutions, the company said earnings were 80 cents a share. Analysts expected 77 cents a share.

For the current fiscal year, Walgreens said it expects adjusted per-share earnings between $4.45 and $4.65, which compares to Wall Street expectations for $4.51 a share.

Shares rose 6.7% in premarket trading to $34.10.

Consumer spending has held up relatively well so far despite inflation, but experts say we’re approaching an inflection point. WSJ’s Sharon Terlep explains the role “elasticity” plays in a company’s decision on whether to raise prices. Photo illustration: Adele Morgan

Write to Sabela Ojea at [email protected]

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