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Walgreen Q4 profit falls, but beats Street


Deerfield, Ill. Walgreen Co. said Tuesday its fourth-quarter profit fell 2.0%, but results topped Wall Street expectations as prescription drugs drove sales upward.

The company reported a profit of $436 million, down from $443 million in the year-ago period. Sales in the quarter ended Aug. 31 rose 8% to $15.7 billion, just edging analysts’ projections of $15.68 billion.

Same-store sales rose 2.4%. Same-store prescription drug sales rose 4.5%, while front-end same-store sales fell 1.4%

"We posted solid fourth-quarter results, while continuing to advance one of the most important strategic and operational transformations in our company's history," said president and CEO Greg Wasson, in a statement. "And we've done this while navigating through the most severe economic downturn in decades."

The company has focused on profitability, renovating stores and cutting jobs, as well as on cutting back on store openings. It will continue to look at potential acquisitions that reinforce core strategies, Wasson said.

For the full year, the company earned $2 billion, down from profit of $2.16 billion in 2008. Revenue rose to $63.34 billion from $59.03 billion.

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