Walgreens announces growth in Q3 2008

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens has reported a 2 percent increase in net earnings [diluted] to $572 million and an increase in earnings per share to 58 cents in the third quarter 2008. All earning figures herein are diluted.

The company said that it saw a 9.6 percent increase in total sales and that “front-end comparable store sales” were also up by 4.6 percent in the first nine months of the year. Third-quarter net earnings climbed 4.2 percent to $1.71 billion, or $1.72 per share, weighing against last year’s $1.64 billion ($1.63 per share).

The company said that its previous year’s earnings at nine-months had benefited from a lower last-in, first-out cost flow assumption rate and tax benefits. Walgreens is currently working on opening 138 new drugstores companywide.

“In a challenging economy, we continued investing in our future with a relentless focus on cost control,” Walgreens chairman and chief executive officer, Jeffrey Rein, told the media. “We posted solid results while going up against a nearly 20 percent earnings increase in the year-ago quarter and a more robust economic environment. At a time when Americans are searching for value and convenience, we’re one of the retailers they’re turning to.”

Walgreens said that for the quarter ended May 31, earnings rose 2 percent to $572 million compared with the year-ago $561 million. Walgreens said that it received a $16.1 million LIFO provision in this year’s quarter, compared with a credit of $3.5 million in last year’s third quarter. The company also reported that last year’s quarter had included a $13.5 million credit, after resolution of a multiyear state tax issue.

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