Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc reported a 68% surge in fourth-quarter profit on Thursday due to higher sales at its pharmacy stores in the United States and the United Kingdom, as COVID-19 restrictions eased in the quarter.
Walgreens, one of the largest US pharmacies, has also been registering higher sales from administering COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots as Delta variant cases surged during the quarter.
Shares in the Deerfield, Illinois-based company, one of the largest US pharmacies, rose 1.6% to $48 premarket.
As of 31 August, Walgreens had administered more than 40 million COVID-19 vaccines, of the total 370.2 million shots administered in the United States.
In July, Walgreens Boots Alliance raised its 2021 adjusted profit growth forecast, buoyed by strength in drug sales and COVID-19 vaccine administrations as same-store sales at its US pharmacies rose 6.4% in the third quarter as it filled 312.1 million prescriptions.
Same-store sales at its US pharmacies rose 8.8% in the fourth quarter, which included a 485 basis point boost from COVID-19 vaccinations, the company said. Walgreens filled 313 million prescriptions during the quarter.
Net income attributable to the company was $627 million (€540 million), or 72 cents per share, for the quarter ended 31 August, compared with a profit of $373 million (€321.3 million), or 43 cents per share, a year earlier.
Revenue rose to $34.26 billion (€29.5 billion) from $30.37 billion (€26.2 billion).
Excluding items, the company earned $1.17 per share, compared with Refinitiv IBES estimates of $1.02 per share.
In September, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc said it would raise the minimum wage of all its staff to $15 an hour from October, as the drugstore chain joins several US firms in trying to retain and lure more people back to work.