Walgreens (ticker: WBA) reported sales of $32.8 billion, below the consensus estimate of $36.6 billion. The United States segment had second quarter sales of $27.3 billion, an increase of 0.4 percent from the year-ago quarter, including the adverse impact of store optimization programs and the 2020 leap day. Comparable sales increased 2.0 percent from the year-ago quarter reecting a 4.5 percent increase in comparable pharmacy sales and a 3.5 percent decline in comparable retail sales. But the company said that the sales were up 3.5% compared with the same quarter last year on a constant currency basis, excluding sales from discontinued operations.
The company also increased its financial forecasts for 2021, now saying it expects “mid-to-high single digit growth” in constant currency adjusted earning per share in 2021, up from its previous estimate.
“Overall, we have achieved a good financial quarter with results well ahead of expectations, despite significant impacts from COVID-19, and we have raised our full-year EPS guidance,” the company’s new CEO, Rosalind Brewer, said in a statement. “I am optimistic about our ability to drive sustainable, long-term value for our shareholders, while acknowledging that there is still work to be done to stabilize the base business.”
“Dare we say it? A good WBA print?” wrote Evercore ISI analyst Elizabeth Anderson in a note out early Wednesday.
The pandemic smashed Walgreens shares: The stock fell 32.4% in 2020 while the S&P 500 climbed 16.3%. This year has gone better, so far, for Walgreens investors, with shares climbing 32.8%. Walgreens is now trading at $52.98 per share, a level it hasn’t reached since February 2020.
Walgreens said that the situation “continues to be fluid” in the second half of its fiscal year due to Covid-19.
The company said that U.S. retail sales were down 6.6% compared with the same quarter last year, but that comparable retail sales, after adjusting for the impact of 2020’s leap day and a store-optimization program, were down 3.5%.