May. 12, 2014, 11:02 AM
- A plan by Pfizer to acquire AstraZeneca in a move that could help the company lower corporate taxes puts a spotlight back on Walgreen (WAG +0.9%) to make a similar move.
- Hedge funds have been pressing the board at Walgreen to back a relocation as part of its integration of Alliance Boots.
- Speed is of the essence with politicians in Washington D.C. making noise about relocation "inversions" deals.
May. 8, 2014, 7:20 PM
- FedEx (FDX) is changing the way it charges to ship bulky packages; instead of charging by weight alone, all ground packages soon will be priced according to size, which effectively will raise prices on more than a third of its U.S. ground shipments.
- Such a move would greatly affect bulky but lighter weight items like toilet paper and diapers, but the changes also would profoundly affect Web retail shoppers, who often buy multiple clothing or footwear items - perhaps with free shipping - then keep what fits and return the rest.
- For Amazon (AMZN) and other big online retailers, shipping is already one of the biggest and most rapidly increasing costs; e-commerce retailers likely would be affected by differing degrees, with the biggest companies such as Wal-Mart (WMT), Walgreen (WAG) and Saks (SKS) having advantages in their ability to negotiate pricing with FDX.
- UPS has not yet followed FDX's move, but the two companies historically have matched each other's price increases.
May. 5, 2014, 8:45 AM
- Walgreens (WAG) says same-store sales rose 7.6% Y/Y in April, benefiting from a later Easter, which fell on April 20 this year.
- In the front end, same-store sales rose 8.2%; customer traffic on a same-store basis improved 2.6% and basket size rose 5.6%.
- Pharmacy segment same-store sales rose 7.3%, and same-store pharmacy prescriptions filled rose 3.5%; pharmacy sales accounted for 65% of WAG's total sales in April.
Apr. 14, 2014, 1:44 PM
- A number of hedge funds with a piece of Walgreen (WAG +2.5%) are pressing the firm to relocate to Europe for tax purposes.
- The group thinks the company's ownership in Alliance Boots gives it the avenue to make the transition.
- Walgreen isn't considering the option at the moment, according to reports.
Apr. 11, 2014, 4:01 AM
- The White House has confirmed that Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning and will be replaced by Sylvia Burwell, the director of the Office of Management & Budget, assuming the latter is confirmed by the Senate.
- Sebelius' departure comes after she said in October that she should be held "accountable for the debacle" of the launch of Obamacare, although the program did reach the government's target of 7M sign-ups by the end of March. She said yesterday that at least 7.5M people have enrolled.
- One of Burwell's first challenges will be to work with health insurers as they set prices for Obamacare plans in 2015, which industry executives have warned could rise sharply.
- More on Obamacare
- Health insurers: AET, HNT, HUM, UNH, WLP, MO
- Hospital operators: HCA, CYH, THC, UHS, HMA, LPNT
- Pharmacies: WAG, CVS, BIOS, RAD, MHS, PMC, OCR
- ETFs: XLV, XHE, VHT, FXH, IHF, IHI, IYH, PTH, RYH, PSCH, RXL, RXD, XHS
Apr. 10, 2014, 10:57 AM
- Per CVS Caremark's (CVS) Insights report prescription drug trend rose 3.8% last year versus flat growth in 2012. Growth drivers were price inflation and increased utilization (more prescriptions per member).
- Specialty medications that treat more complex diseases grew by 15.6%.
- The company generates the report, which includes an outline of cost containment strategies, to assist payers with their management of prescription drug spending.
- Drug trend is the measure of growth in prescription spending per member per month.
- The generic dispensing rate was 81.4%.
- (RAD) (WAG)
Apr. 9, 2014, 1:52 PM
Apr. 3, 2014, 1:17 PM
- The buyer is Water Street Health Care Partners, and Walgreens (WAG +0.8%) will retain a minority stake in Take Care and be the preferred strategic partner with Water Street.
- Take Care is a Walgreens subsidiary managing over 360 worksite health centers across the country. At the same time, Water Street has agreed to get a piece of CHS Health Care Services, a provider of 130 worksite health centers.
- Financial terms were not disclosed and Walgreens doesn't expect the deal to have a material impact this fiscal year.
- Press release
Apr. 3, 2014, 11:59 AM
- Rite Aid (RAD +2.6%) joins Walgreen (WAG +0.8%) in reporting higher same-store sales for March; RAD says same-store sales climbed 0.7% and pharmacy comps rose 3.5% helped by a 1.1% increase in prescriptions, but front-end sales slipped 5% due in part to a late Easter.
- Alan Stacy's calculation shows total drugstore sales for the month, which rose 0.4% to $1.95B, would have increased by 1.7% if Easter had fallen in March.
- Earlier: Walgreen comp sales up 3.5%.
Apr. 3, 2014, 9:48 AM
- Overall sales of $6.43B were 4.5% higher than a year ago, with sales in comparable stores up 3.5%. With Easter not coming until April 20 this year, total front-end sales fell 2.6% in March, and comparable front-end sales fell 3.4%.
- Walgreen (WAG +0.9%) March pharmacy sales increased 8.9%, with comparable store pharmacy sales up 8% (adjusting for calendar day shift, sales were up 7.1%).
- Press release
Mar. 26, 2014, 7:32 AM
- Amidst the flurry of regulatory warnings to Indian generic drug manufacturers, other firms will quickly step in to satisfy demand. Those who can demonstrate a strong emphasis on quality will have an edge.
- India's Ranbaxy Labs, the largest manufacturer by sales, had its products banned by the FDA in January because of repeated quality problems.
- (ACT) (TEVA) (MYL) (CVS) (WAG)
Mar. 26, 2014, 7:16 AM
- Execs with Walgreen (WAG) dodged a question during the firm's earnings call yesterday on if the company planned to cease selling tobacco products.
- The company didn't disclose any plans to follow the lead of CVS Caremark in exiting the tobacco market, but also pointed toward its products which are geared toward smokers looking to quit.
- "We think we are well positioned to help folks change their behavior who want to quit," said CEO Greg Wasson.
- Reading between the lines, a wait-and-see approach appears to be in place on tobacco for Walgreen.
- Earnings call transcript
Mar. 25, 2014, 11:46 AM
- Walgreen (WAG +3.1%) CEO Greg Wasson says the company will close 76 unprofitable stores in the second half of the company's fiscal year.
- Most of the locations will be ones that are situated in close proximity to another Walgreens.
- The synergies from the Alliance Boots acquisition will continue to be a bottom-line driver for the company. By all accounts, the integration is on schedule.
- The combination of a harsh winter and a mild flu season cut into store traffic and margins during FQ2, according to execs.
- Earnings call transcript
Mar. 25, 2014, 7:46 AM
- Walgreen (WAG) reports comparable-store sales rose 4.3% during FQ2.
- Customer traffic slipped 1.4% due in part to tough weather trends, while the average basket size rose 3.4% as customers made the most out of their reduced trips to Walgreens outlets.
- Total prescription sales were up 7% for the period as the Walgreens chain increased its retail prescription market share by 20 bps to 19.0%.
- The company says combined synergies for Walgreen and Alliance Boots was $236M for the first half of its fiscal year.
- An enrollment of 80M active members in Walgreen's Balance Rewards loyalty program at the end of the quarter looks downright formidable.
- WAG +0.2% premarket
Mar. 25, 2014, 7:31 AM
Mar. 25, 2014, 12:05 AM
WBA vs. ETF Alternatives
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc operates drug-stores chain in the United States. It provides consumer goods and services, pharmacy, and health and wellness services through drug-stores, as well as mail, and by telephone and online.
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