How Walgreens Turned Itself Around in Q3

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA) released its fiscal third-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Thursday. The company said that it had $1.47 in earnings per share (EPS) and $34.6 billion in revenue, which compared with consensus estimates of $1.43 in EPS and revenue of $34.46 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $1.53 on $34.33 billion in revenue.

The Retail Pharmacy USA segment had third-quarter sales of $26.5 billion, an increase of 2.3% over the year-ago quarter. The Retail Pharmacy International segment had sales of $2.8 billion, a decrease of 7.3% from the year-ago quarter, reflecting an adverse currency impact of 5.7%.

The Pharmaceutical Wholesale segment had sales of $5.9 billion, a decrease of 1.7% from the year-ago quarter, due to an adverse currency impact of 10.0%. On a constant currency basis, sales increased by 8.3%, primarily reflecting growth in emerging markets.

Looking ahead to the fiscal 2019, the company maintained adjusted EPS guidance of roughly flat, at constant currency rates. Consensus estimates are calling for $5.99 in EPS and $136.88 billion in revenue for the full year.

Stefano Pessina, executive vice chair and chief executive, commented:

Following a difficult second quarter, we made progress in the third quarter against the strategic goals we set, and are pleased to report an improvement in our U.S. comparable growth compared with the first half of the year. We will continue our aggressive response to rapidly shifting trends, and have already seen improved U.S. retail sales and prescription growth and are making good progress in implementing our Transformational Cost Management Program. Together, this gives us the confidence to reiterate the fiscal 2019 guidance we previously provided.

Shares of Walgreens traded up over 3% at $54.18 on Thursday, in a 52-week range of $49.31 to $86.31. The consensus price target is $57.90.