CVS Health Q1 profit, sales top estimates; raises outlook

Marianne Wilson
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CVS Health Corp. reported a strong first quarter with sales and earnings that topped Street expectations amid growth in all its segments.  

The company’s net income rose to $2.22 billion, or $1.68 a share, in the period ended March 31, from $2.01 billion, or $1.53 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings per share were $2.04, up from $1.9 last year and easily topping analysts estimates of $1.73.

Total revenues rose 3.5% to $69.10 billion, above estimates of $68.36 billion, driven by growth across all its segments. Pharmacy services revenue rose 3.8% to $36.32 billion, and health care benefits revenue increased 6.7% to $20.48 billion. Retail and long-term care revenue grew 2.3% to $23.27 billion, primarily driven by increased COVID-19 diagnostic testing and vaccinations and brand inflation.  

Similar to many other retailers deemed essential during the pandemic, CVS faced tough year-over-year sales comparisons. Same-store sales across pharmacy and front store combined inched up 0.4% compared to 9% in the year-ago period as consumers stocked at the onset of the pandemic. Same-store sales for the front store fell 11.4%.

"We delivered strong first-quarter results and improved our outlook for the year,” said CVS Health president and CEO Karen S. Lynch. “We continue to execute on our strategy while simultaneously managing through a pandemic, helping the country on the road to recovery. Our unmatched assets and strength of our brand are driving results as we work toward improving care delivery and driving growth.”

CVS raised its 2021 guidance range for adjusted EPS to $7.56 to $7.68 from $7.39 to $7.55, and affirmed it cash flow outlook of $12.0 billion to $12.5 billion.