Walgreens Boots Alliance administered coronavirus vaccinations at a higher-than-expected rate of 13.5 million vaccinations in the three months ended September, helping its sales, the company said Thursday.
The company also announced that it will invest an additional $5.2 billion in VillageMD, a venture aimed at reaching underserved communities to support the rollout of at least 600 primary care practices at Walgreens in the United States.
Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance jumped more than 8 percent following the announcement.
The company reported that same-store sales grew 8.9 percent in its fiscal fourth quarter compared to the same period last year. Health and wellness sales grew 14 percent, bolstered by at-home coronavirus tests and cold and flu products.
“Comparable US pharmacy and retail sales both saw strong growth, and our UK business continued to improve as Covid-19 restrictions were eased in the quarter,” Walgreens Boots Alliance chief executive Rosalind Brewer said in a statement.
Net profit jumped 68 percent to $627 million in the quarter; A year ago it was $373 million. The company also benefited from digital tools that eased curbside and drive-thru pickup, leading to a 100 percent increase in revenue in the fourth quarter compared to last year.
Walgreens is one of the largest chains among dozens of grocery and drugstores offering vaccines allocated by and through states. Federal Pharmacy Vaccination Program. The company brings in revenue from purchases made by incoming buyers for vaccines, along with vaccine administration fees paid by government and private payers.
The company requires people to create a Walgreens account to search online for vaccine appointments, which helped grow membership in its MyWalgreens program to 85 million members from 75 million members last quarter.
But it also faced complaints in the quarter from customers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the timing of the second dose of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Walgreens was scheduling a second dose for that shot. four weeks apart, but agreed to follow guidance from federal health officials, which recommend a three-week gap.