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Walgreen 1st-quarter profit sinks nearly 26%

By The Associated Press

This article was published December 21, 2012 at 8:32 a.m.

Walgreen Co.’s fiscal first-quarter earnings sank nearly 26 percent as the nation’s largest drugstore chain filled fewer prescriptions and absorbed costs tied to acquisitions and superstorm Sandy.

The Deerfield, Ill., company’s performance fell short of Wall Street expectations, and the stock slipped Friday before markets opened.

Walgreen said the storm system that swept up the East Coast in late October cost $24 million in the quarter, as it temporarily closed hundreds of stores. Acquisition-related costs totaled $23 million in the quarter.

Walgreen said prescriptions filled at stores open at least a year fell nearly 5 percent, a smaller decrease than the 8 percent drop it reported in the previous quarter. The drugstore chain said the improvement was due to its return to the network of Express Scripts Holding Co., the nation’s largest pharmacy-benefits manager.

Overall, Walgreen earned $413 million, or 43 cents per share, in the three months that ended Nov. 30. That compares with net income of $554 million, or 63 cents per share, a year ago.

Walgreen said earlier this month revenue fell nearly 5 percent in the quarter to $17.34 billion.

Excluding one-time costs, adjusted earnings were 58 cents per share, which missed analyst expectations.

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