Walgreens Beats Estimates for the Quarter Thanks to COVID-19 Vaccines and Tests

Noblesville - Circa March 2021: Walgreens Retail Location.
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Walgreens Boots Alliance reported fourth-quarter earnings today, beating analysts’ estimates, thanks to increased sales of COVID tests and demands for vaccines.

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The company provided 13.5 million vaccinations in the quarter and 34.6 million in fiscal 2021, according to a press release. This represents nearly double the company had expected to administer in the quarter, according to CNBC.

“Mandates are playing a role,” CEO Roz Brewer told CNBC. “There are many companies and organizations, cities and municipalities that are mandating and I think it’s forcing people to say ‘I need to go to work. So I have to get this vaccine.’ So it is creating an increase. And we’re seeing that in our stores.”

Walgreens reported adjusted earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter of $1.17, compared to a consensus estimate of $1.02 per share and revenue of $34.4 billion, above the consensus estimate of $33.3 billion, Barron’s reports.

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Analysts at CFRA Research issued a Hold rating, reflecting concerns of intensifying competition, particularly from Amazon, according to a note sent to GOBankingRates.

“The competitive landscape is a concern. In November 2020, Amazon launched Amazon Pharmacy, which we think can transform the way millions of people purchase prescription drugs given that there are more than 120M Amazon Prime members in the U.S.,” according to the note. “Prime members will have exclusive savings to certain prescription drugs through Amazon’s new prescription drug savings program. WBA has been benefiting from administering COVID-19 vaccines as the margins are attractive and the incremental foot traffic has benefited front-end sales.

“However, vaccines are expected to significantly slow in the upcoming quarter, which, combined with accelerated investments in digital and healthcare, makes the next few quarters quite challenging.”

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Walgreens shares were up 2.20% in pre-market trading and 3.7% this morning.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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