Walgreen Posts Upbeat FQ4 Results
Walgreen Co (NYSE: WAG) reported better-than-expected results for the fiscal fourth-quarter.
WAG posted its FQ4 earnings at $470 million, or $0.49 per share, up from $436 million, or $0.44 per share, in the year-ago quarter. The company's revenue came in at $16.9 billion, up from $15.7 billion, in the year-ago period. The company's earnings came in at $0.54 per share, after excluding one-time charges. However, analysts had expected the company to report its earnings at $0.44 per share, on $16.84 billion in revenue.
Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson said, “The double-digit increase in fourth quarter earnings per share was driven by strong operating performance across our 7,500-store network and expense control companywide.” He added, “We were able to once again generate increased cash flow from operations for the quarter, and for the year we returned a record amount of cash to shareholders in the form of share repurchases and an increase in our dividend for the 35th consecutive year.”
WAG has opened or purchased 65 new drugstores in Q4, versus 155 in the year-ago period. The company is projecting new store openings of about 2.5% and 3.0% in FY11.
Wasson mentioned, “Fiscal 2010 was highlighted by accelerating execution on our core strategies and an ability to leverage our financial flexibility to capture growth opportunities including our acquisition of Duane Reade.” He added, “We remain confident in our ability to drive earnings growth, increase our return on invested capital and generate strong cash flow. Our use of cash has been, and will continue to be, guided by a capital policy that commits us to maintaining a strong balance sheet and financial flexibility; reinvesting in core strategies and related strategic activities; and returning surplus cash to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases.”
WAG shares surged 4.94% to $31.85 in pre-market trading.
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