The company said Thursday that Walgreens Boots Alliance was vaccinating against coronavirus at a faster-than-expected rate, delivering 13.5 million vaccinations in the three months ended September, helping boost its sales.
The company also announced that it is investing an additional $ 5.2 billion in VillageMD, a venture that aims to reach low-income communities, to support the rollout of at least 600 primary health care practices at Walgreens in the United States.
Walgreens Boots Alliance jumped more than 3 percent in early trading following the announcement.
The company said that in its fiscal fourth quarter, similar store sales rose 8.9% over the same period last year. Sales of health and wellness products rose 14 percent, boosted by in-home coronavirus tests and cold and flu products.
“Comparable US pharmacy and retail sales posted robust growth and our UK business continued to recover as Covid-19 restrictions were eased this quarter,” said Rosalind Brewer, chief executive officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance, in a statement.
Quarterly net income jumped 68 percent to $ 627 million; a year earlier it was $ 373 million. The company also capitalized on digital tools that made it easier to lift curbs and driveways, resulting in 100 percent revenue growth in the fourth quarter over last year.
Walgreens is one of the largest of dozens of grocery and pharmacy chains that provide vaccines allocated by states and through the federal pharmacy vaccination program. The company generates revenue from vaccine fees paid by public and private payers, and purchases from vaccine buyers.
The company is requiring people to create a Walgreens account to search the Internet for vaccine prescriptions, which helped boost its MyWalgreens program to 85 million from 75 million in the previous quarter.
But this quarter, the company also faced complaints from customers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the timing of the second dose of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Walgreens planned to repeat doses for this vaccine at four-week intervals, but agreed to follow directions from federal health officials who recommended a three-week break.