Walgreens Boots Alliance, the owner of pharmacy chain Boots, has raised its 2021 earnings growth forecast after higher pharmacy sales and Covid-19 vaccine rollouts in the United States helped it beat third-quarter revenue expectations.
Walgreens had been relying on gains from administering Covid-19 vaccines to tide over losses from low prescription volumes and a weak flu season that has hampered over-the-counter sales of health and wellness products.
The company said it had administered more than 25 million Covid vaccinations to date out of the 326.5 million shots given in the United States as of June 30.
Same-store prescriptions filled at Walgreens’ pharmacies rose 9.8 per cent in the quarter, including a 6 per cent boost from Covid-19 vaccines.
Shares of the company, which is among the largest US pharmacies, rose 2.3 per cent to $53.83 in premarket trade.
Retail sales at Walgreens’ Boots UK segment rose 38.7 per cent amid partial easing of lockdowns.
The company raised its 2021 adjusted earnings per share growth forecast from mid-to-high single digit to around 10 per cent.
Revenue rose 12.1 per cent to $34.0bn in the quarter, ahead of estimates of $33.8bn.
Walgreens Boots Alliance chief executive officer Rosalind Brewer said: “This quarter’s results demonstrate continued momentum, and while challenges lie ahead, we are in a strong position to grow and innovate our core retail and pharmacy businesses for the future.
“We are accelerating our investments to advance our operational excellence, including technology innovations that support mass personalisation, pharmacy of the future and the next phase of growth in tech-enabled healthcare.
“These investments are fuelled by our Alliance Healthcare divestiture.
“I remain proud of our team members and the essential role they are playing to help end the pandemic as the communities we serve continue to turn to our trusted brands and expert pharmacists.”