Walgreens quarterly sales slip as strong dollar weighs

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Walgreens Boots Alliance posted a dip in quarterly revenues, which came in slightly short of Wall Street expectations, as a strong dollar dented its international business.

The Illinois-based pharmacy chain said sales fell 2.4 per cent year-on-year to $29.4bn in the quarter through the end of February, compared with forecasts of $30.3bn. However, on a comparable currency basis, sales would have been up by 0.9 per cent.

Walgreen’s large US retail pharmacy unit posted a 1.5 per cent increase in sales, helped by strength in pharmacy sales that was somewhat offset by the retail side.

The group pegged the retail weakness on “a challenging market, with declines in the consumables and general merchandise category and the personal care category partially offset by solid growth in the health and wellness category and the beauty category”.

The international retail pharmacy’s sales declined by 14.5 per cent, “mainly due to currency translation”. Pharmaceutical wholesale sales also took a hit thanks to the strong buck.

Net profits rose 14 per cent to $1.1bn. On an adjusted basis, earnings per share of $1.36 met analyst expectations.

Walgreens said that it was still “actively engaged in discussions” with US antitrust regulators over its planned tie-up with Rite Aid.

The group’s shares slipped 0.6 per cent in pre-market trading.

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