Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, a leading drugstore chain, is confident in achieving its full-year earnings growth forecast, thanks to the expected advantages from COVID-19 vaccinations. The company has taken several actions to enhance profitability after being hit by the pandemic’s impact. These measures include job cuts, the closure of a number of Boots stores in the UK, and the sale of its distribution unit to AmerisourceBergen Corp.

Walgreens and its competitor CVS Health Corp have an agreement with the federal government to administer COVID-19 vaccines to residents of nursing homes across the United States. Although CEO Stephano Pessina admitted that vaccinating care homes may not be a highly profitable endeavor, he believes that the vaccines will positively impact the company’s profile in the second half of the fiscal year.

Despite the challenges faced during the health crisis, Walgreens surpassed analysts’ expectations for adjusted first-quarter profit. The company has maintained its fiscal 2021 forecast of achieving low single-digit growth in adjusted earnings per share. In the first quarter, same-store sales in Boots UK pharmacies experienced a 2.5% increase, while Boots.com witnessed a remarkable sales growth of 106%.

Walgreens is optimistic about substantial growth in its UK business in the second half of the year, propelled by cost-cutting measures. However, the company remains cautious about the impact of the ongoing UK lockdown on its operations. Chief Financial Officer James Kehoe emphasized that the lockdown, scheduled until mid-February, presents a significant negative factor and uncertainty for the company’s performance.

Despite the challenges faced by Walgreens throughout the pandemic, the company’s ability to adapt and implement strategic measures has instilled confidence in investors. The expectation of benefits from COVID-19 vaccinations, coupled with positive sales growth, has caused a 7% increase in Walgreens’ share price. As the vaccination rollout continues and the situation evolves, Walgreens remains dedicated to maintaining profitability and delivering value to its shareholders.

For more information on Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, visit their official website here.
For additional insights into the impact of COVID-19 on the pharmaceutical industry, refer to this article here.