Walgreen (NASDAQ: WBA ) delivered a mixed bag this morning in reporting second-quarter earnings before the market open. The pharmacy chain posted adjusted earnings per share of $0.91 in the period, missing analyst expectations for profit by $0.03 per share. That was a 5% decline in profit from the year-ago period in which Walgreen reported adjusted earnings of $0.96 per share. The retailer said factors such as slower generic drug introductions and fewer consumers coming in for flu shots in the quarter hurt results.
Nevertheless, sales were up 5.1% thanks to a 4.3% spike in same-store sales. Quarterly revenue of $19.6 billion was a record for the pharmacy retailer, yet in line with the $19.61 billion Wall Street was looking for.
"Our second quarter performance, in spite of expected headwinds from slower generic drug introductions, comparisons with last year's flu season and severe weather, was marked by solid top-line growth driven by record quarterly sales and record second-quarter prescriptions filled," Walgreen President CEO Greg Wasson said in a press release.
Additionally, Walgreen's stake in the European drugstore chain Alliance Boots is "expected to exceed its second-year estimate," according to Wasson. Alliance Boots added $0.08 per diluted share to Walgreen's second-quarter earnings. Looking ahead, management expects Alliance Boots to contribute $0.13 to $0.14 per diluted share to Walgreen's third-quarter results.
Despite these positives, the company plans to close as many as 76 underperforming stores during the second half of fiscal 2014. However, Walgreen said it will still grow its store count by 55 to 75 locations in the remainder of the year. Shares of Walgreen were higher by nearly 2% as of 8:30 a.m. in pre-market trading ahead of the market's open today and up about 3.9% around 10 a.m.