Retail

Walgreens says 8 million Covid-19 vaccines administered, ups its 2021 profit forecast

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Key Points
  • Walgreens Boots Alliance raised its 2021 profit forecast after posting an 8.4% rise in quarterly profit, boosted by higher sales at its U.S. retail pharmacies.
  • Pharmacy chains such as Walgreens and CVS Health are expecting to benefit from distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and tests.

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People wearing masks walk in a crosswalk near a Walgreens on September 30, 2020 in New York City.
Alexi Rosenfeld | Getty Images

Drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance said on Wednesday it has so far administered 8 million Covid-19 vaccines and raised its 2021 profit forecast, sending its shares up 2.6% in premarket trading.

While the pandemic has affected prescription volumes in recent quarters, pharmacy chains Walgreens and CVS Health are likely to benefit from distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and tests. Last quarter, Walgreens said it expected to profit from its vaccination program in the second half of 2021.

Walgreens on Wednesday beat second-quarter profit estimates due to higher sales at its pharmacy stores in the U.S. and the UK.

The company said same-store sales at its U.S. pharmacies rose 4.5% in the second quarter, as it filled 288.5 million prescriptions, while the sales at Boots UK pharmacies increased 3.2%

Walgreens raised its 2021 forecast to mid-to-high single-digit growth in constant currency adjusted earnings per share from low single-digit adjusted EPS growth.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.40 per share, compared with Refinitiv IBES estimates of $1.11 per share.

Second-quarter revenue rose 4.8% to $32.8 billion, but missed analysts' average estimate of $35.53 billion.

Net income attributable to Walgreens rose to $1.0 billion, or $1.19 per share, in the second quarter ended Feb. 29, from $946 million, or $1.07 per share, a year earlier.