The sign shows the types of COVID-19 vaccine doses available at the Walgreens Mobile Bus Clinic on June 25, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
Mario Tama | Getty Images
Walgreens Boots Alliance on Thursday beat analysts’ expectations for fiscal first quarter earnings and raised its full-year outlook as customers came to its stores for Covid shots, home test kits and primary childhood vaccinations.
Shares are up more than 4% at the premarket.
The pharmacy chain raised its outlook for the year, saying that adjusted earnings per share are now expected to rise to single digits rather than remain flat.
Here’s what Walgreens reported, compared to what analysts expected in the first quarter ending Nov.30: according to Refinitiv:
- Earnings per share: $ 1.68 adjusted against the expected $ 1.33.
- Income: $ 33.90 billion vs. expected $ 32.74 billion
This quarter, net income rose to $ 3.58 billion, or $ 4.13 per share. of a net loss of $ 308 million, or 36 cents a share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned $ 1.68 per share, exceeding $ 1.33 is expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv.
Sales rose to $ 33.90 billion. from $ 31.44 billion a year earlier, which is higher than expected by analysts of $ 32.74 billion.
More boosters, online sales
Walgreens delivered 15.6 million Covid vaccines in the first quarter, bringing the total to more than 56 million to date. The rate of vaccinations increased from the previous quarter, when 13.5 million were given, as adults came for booster shots and children became eligible for the first time. Covid vaccinations peaked at Walgreens in the third quarter of last year, when it received 17 million shots.
So far, the company has said it has made over 9 million re-injections. The company conducted 6.5 million Covid tests in the first quarter.
Retail sales of pandemic-related merchandise also surged as shoppers bought at-home Covid tests along with cough, cold and flu medications and beauty products. In-store retail sales – an industry metric that tracks online sales and stores that have been open for at least a year – are up 10.6% year-over-year – the biggest jump in more than 20 years.
In the pharmacy department, single-store sales were up 6.8% year-over-year, with the bulk of Covid vaccines.
Digital sales in the U.S. grew 88% in the first quarter as customers placed 3.6 million pickup orders on the same day in a three-month period. Those sales tend to be higher, with an average of $ 30 online compared to $ 20 in stores, CEO Rose Brewer said during a teleconference.
At Boots in the United Kingdom, online retail sales and in stores that have been open for at least a year were up 16.3% year-over-year. Boots’ digital sales nearly doubled in the first quarter from the same quarter before the pandemic, but foot traffic has dropped to pre-pandemic levels, the company said.
Flu shots have gained popularity over last year as Boots delivered 2 million flu vaccines in the first quarter, up 150% from a year earlier.
Walgreens has looked to healthcare services as an incentive for long-term growth. This opening doctor’s offices with VillageMD’s primary care company, called Village Medical, in some of its stores. It is transforming some of the locations into the Walgreens Health Corner, where nurses and pharmacists work to advise patients on chronic conditions or other medical needs.
So far, the company said it has opened 81 Village Medical offices and 47 Walgreens Health Corners. Walgreens said it plans to open more than 160 primary health care clinics and more than 100 Health Corners by the end of the calendar year.
Walgreens closed Wednesday at $ 54.00, up 1%. The company’s shares are up 31% in the past 12 months, bringing its market value to $ 46.74 billion.