Walgreens posts higher profit as COVID-19 vaccinations continue to lift sales

Drugstore chain has provided more than 40 million COVID-19 vaccinations and more than 16 million Covid tests to date

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. said its profit rose for the recent quarter, with its role in administering COVID-19 vaccines continuing to help lift sales.

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WBA WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE, INC. 48.01 -0.39 -0.81%

The Deerfield, Ill., drugstore chain on Thursday said it has provided 13.5 million vaccinations in the three months that ended Aug. 31. The company said it has administered more than 40 million COVID-19 vaccinations and more than 16 million COVID-19 tests to date.

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The company posted sales of $34.26 billion for the fiscal fourth quarter, up from $30.37 billion in the same period last year and surpassing Wall Street estimates. Profit rose to $627 million from $373 million in the comparable period last year. 

A Walgreens Pharmacy in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File / AP Newsroom)

Adjusted earnings were $1.17 a share, ahead of the $1.02 a share analysts polled by FactSet had expected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 65.6% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

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U.S. pharmacy sales increased 6.7%, and retail sales in the U.S. rose 6.5%, the company said. Health and wellness sales increased 14%, helped by items like at-home COVID-19 tests and vitamins, the company said.

Outside the U.S., the company said it benefited from the continuing recovery in the U.K., where COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in July. International sales rose 61.8% to $5.5 billion.