Walgreen Co. reports its fiscal second-quarter results before the stock market opens Tuesday.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: The Deerfield, Ill., company is expected to benefit during the quarter from the flu season's much later peak compared with last year. Walgreen said this month that it had administered 6.4 million flu shots to date at its pharmacies and clinics.
Revenue from non-pharmacy items also is expected to help the drug store chain's results, and several analysts predict improved gross margins on better promotions and pricing. The company's store-remodeling efforts and purchase of the Duane Reade chain in New York already have started to pay off, and investors will look for further progress and cost savings.
Earlier this month, Walgreen said it is getting out of the pharmacy benefits management business and selling its benefits operation to Catalyst Health Solutions Inc. for $525 million. The companies expect to complete the deal by the end of June assuming regulators approve.
Walgreen's pharmacy benefits management business, known as Walgreens Health Initiatives, never approached the size of Caremark, the pharmacy benefits management business of CVS Caremark Corp., which is Walgreen's largest drugstore competitor. Caremark says it manages prescription benefits for about 60 million people.
WHY IT MATTERS: Walgreen runs more than 7,600 stores, which makes it the biggest pharmacy chain in the U.S.
WHAT'S EXPECTED: Walgreen reported early in March that its second-quarter revenue rose 8.7 percent to $18.46 billion from $16.99 billion. Sales in its stores open at least a year — a key retailer metric — rose 4 percent.
Analysts on average expect Walgreen to report earnings of 80 cents per share and revenue of $18.39 billion, according to FactSet.
LAST YEAR'S QUARTER: The company earned $669 million, or 68 cents per share, with restructuring expenses reducing results by 2 cents per share. Revenue rose 3.1 percent to $16.99 billion.