(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Walgreens store is seen in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. February 11, 2021. REUTERS/Eileen T. Meslar
(Reuters) -Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc raised its 2021 adjusted earnings growth forecast on Thursday, after higher pharmacy sales and widespread COVID-19 vaccine rollouts in the United States helped it beat third-quarter revenue expectations.
Shares of the Deerfield, Illinois-based company, among the largest U.S. pharmacies, rose 2.3% to $53.83 in premarket trade.
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-19 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% in the quarter, including a 6% boost from COVID-19 vaccines.
Rival Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD), which operates drugstore chains in the United States, also reported a rise in pharmacy sales in its most recent quarter.
Retail sales at Walgreens’ Boots UK segment rose 38.7% 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%.
Net income attributable to Walgreens was $1.2 billion, or $1.38 per share, for the quarter ended May 31, compared with a net loss of $1.71 billion, or $1.95 per share, a year earlier.
Revenue rose 12.1% to $34.0 billion in the quarter, ahead of estimates of $33.8 billion.
Walgreens lifts profit forecast as drug sales rebound
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