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Walgreen fiscal 1Q profit sinks nearly 26 pct

Updated: December 21, 2012 12:21PM

Walgreen says its fiscal first-quarter earnings sank nearly 26 percent as the nation’s largest drugstore chain filled fewer prescriptions and absorbed costs tied to recent acquisitions and Superstorm Sandy.

The Deerfield-based drugstore company reported Friday that prescriptions fell 3 percent, and prescription revenue dropped, partly because of cheaper generic drugs but also because Walgreen continues to work to win back customers who fled to rivals during Walgreen’s reimbursement-rate dispute with Express Scripts. Analysts have said the battle with Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefits manager, could cost Walgreen $4 billion in yearly revenue.

Walgreen earned $413 million, or 43 cents per share, in the three months that ended Nov. 30. That compares with net income of $554 million, or 63 cents per share, a year ago. Walgreen said earlier this month revenue fell nearly 5 percent in the quarter to $17.34 billion.

Same-store sales, a key indicator of a retailer’s health, dropped 8 percent, while sales overall slid 4.6 percent, to $17.32 billion, during the quarter.

Excluding one-time costs, adjusted earnings were 58 cents per share.

Analysts forecast earnings of 70 cents per share.

Walgreen runs more than 8,000 drugstores in all 50 states.

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