Walgreen 4th-quarter profit rises 25 percent on stronger prescription drug sales

Monday, September 25th 2006, 9:43 am
By: News On 6

DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Walgreen Co., the nation's largest drugstore chain by sales, on Monday said fourth-quarter profit jumped 25 percent, led by stronger prescription revenue.

For the quarter ended Aug. 31, Walgreen posted earnings of $412.3 million, or 41 cents per share, compared with $329 million, or 32 cents per share, a year ago. That matched the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

The year-earlier quarter included $54.7 million in pretax costs related to Hurricane Katrina, while the recent quarter includes $7.3 million in pretax litigation gains.

Revenue grew 16 percent to $12.17 billion from $10.49 billion. Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least one year, rose 9.7 percent in the quarter.

Prescription sales climbed 18 percent.

Full-year earnings increased to $1.75 billion, or $1.72 per share, from $1.56 billion, or $1.52 per share, in the prior year. Sales for the full year rose to $47.41 billion from $42.2 billion in fiscal 2005.

Shares in the company fell $1.12, or 2.4 percent, to $45.78 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock is up about 3 percent in 2006.