Walgreen 1Q Profit Rises 20% on Drug Sales

Mon, 12/21/2009 - 3:36am
DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Walgreen Co. said Monday its fiscal first-quarter profit jumped 20 percent, mainly on higher prescription drug sales and from flu shots, topping Wall Street forecasts. The company earned $489 million, or 49 cents per share, up from $408 million, or 41 cents per share, a year prior. Revenue rose 9.5 percent to $16.36 billion from $14.95 billion. The fiscal 2010 first quarter ended in November and included 3 cents per share in restructuring costs. Wall Street forecasts called for 48 cents per share in profit on just under $16.3 billion in revenue, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters. Flu shots helped boost front-end sales, the company said, though demand tapered off in November. The company administered more than 5 million flu shots between September and November, compared with 1.2 million the previous flu season. Walgreen also said the recession had a negative impact on holiday sales. "Consumer concerns over high unemployment and the challenging economy were a drag on holiday sales at the end of November, and we've seen a similar pattern through mid-December," President and CEO Greg Wasson said in a statement. He said the company's holiday performance is driven by the final shopping days. In premarket trading, Walgreen shares changed hands at $37.84, up from Friday's close of $36.64.

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