Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) reported first-quarter fiscal 2013 results before markets opened this morning. The drug store chain posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.58 on revenues of $17.3 billion. In the same period a year ago, Walgreen’s reported EPS of $0.71 on revenue of $18.12 billion. This morning’s results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.70 and $17.43 billion in revenue.
On a GAAP basis, Walgreen’s EPS totaled $0.43, compared with $0.63 in the same period a year ago. The company also changed the way it accounts for and reports on its investment in Alliance Boots, which chopped $0.07 off adjusted EPS in the first quarter. For the remaining three quarters of the 2013 fiscal year, Walgreen’s estimates that it will enjoy a boost to its adjusted EPS of $0.25 to $0.29 as a result of its investment in Alliance Boots.
The company’s CEO said:
During a quarter that included a number of non-operational items, as well as the ongoing Express Scripts impact, we saw the underlying performance of our business strengthen with improved gross profit margins and an upswing in comparable prescriptions filled in the quarter. … In many respects, this quarter was a turning point with the increasing pace of return of Express Scripts customers to our pharmacies …
The company took a hit of 4.9%, or $883 million, in the quarter due to the impact of conversions from branded to generic drugs. Same-store sales fell 8% overall, with front-end sales down 2% and prescription sales down 11.3%.
Shares are down 3.8% in premarket trading this morning, at $36.14 in a 52-week range of $28.53 to $37.75. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $39.70 before today’s results were announced.