Walgreen profits fall short

American pharmacy chain Walgreen posted a higher quarterly profit yesterday but missed analysts’ estimates, due to a still weak economy, lagging front-end sales and lower customer traffic. Walgreen, which took a 45 per cent stake in Alliance Boots last year, said earnings rose 16 per cent to $624m. It said the Boots deal is on track to deliver annual synergies of $125m to $150m, ahead of a previous target, but that in the quarter the weakness of the pound against the dollar had hit earnings. Group sales in the quarter rose 3.2 per cent to $18.3bn. Chief exec Greg Wasson said “front-end sales are still not up to our expectations”.