Walgreens aims to rapidly scale US healthcare business next year

Walgreens' healthcare business, Walgreens Boots Alliance, reported better than expected fourth quarter earnings and aims to accelerate growth next year.

WBA spent the last year focused on transforming into a consumer-centric healthcare company, and its business was able to achieve growth while navigating macroeconomic headwinds, according to Rosalind Brewer, CEO of WBA.

"Fiscal 2023 will be a year of accelerating core growth and rapidly scaling our U.S. healthcare business," she said in a press release. "Our execution to date provides us visibility and confidence to increase the long-term outlook for our next growth engine and reconfirm our path to low-teens adjusted [earnings per share] growth."

Despite the rosy outlook, WBA's financial results lagged behind last year. The company's fourth quarter sales were down 5.3 percent to $32.4 billion, and net loss from continuing operations was $415 million, compared to $358 million net income for the same period last year. Sales from continuing operations were slightly up to $132.7 billion for the full year.

In the fourth quarter, U.S. digital sales were up 14 percent, and the company's myWalgreens membership topped 102 million members. It's continuing to roll out VillageMD with 342 total clinics — 82 opened in the last year — and 152 co-located clinics open. By the end of the calendar year, the company is on track to have 200 co-located clinics.

The U.S. healthcare segment reported $622 million in fourth quarter sales, and gross profit was a loss of $37 million. Operating loss for the segment was $338 million.

WBA is raising its U.S. healthcare fiscal year 2025 target sales to $11 billion to $12 billion, up from the previously stated $9 billion to $10 billion.

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