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Walgreens Reports Fiscal Year Losses and Announces Cost Reduction Plan

Walgreens Faces Losses Despite Sales Growth

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. has revealed its fiscal year and Q4 results, reporting a net loss of $3.1 billion compared to last year’s net earnings of $4.3 billion. Despite these losses, the company experienced a 4.8% increase in sales for fiscal 2023, amounting to $139.1 billion, and a 9.2% rise in Q4 sales, reaching $35.4 billion. This growth can be attributed to the strong performance of its U.S. Retail Pharmacy and International segments, while the U.S. Healthcare segment’s growth was influenced by pro forma growth and acquisitions of CareCentrix and Summit Health.

Cost Restructuring Plan to Address Performance Challenges

In response to these performance challenges, interim CEO Ginger Graham announced a cost restructuring plan. This plan aims to achieve a $1 billion cost reduction and a $600 million cut in capital expenditure within six weeks. The effects of this plan are expected to be seen in Q2 of fiscal 2024.

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Cost-Cutting Measures Implemented by Walgreens

Under the leadership of new CEO Tim Wentworth, Walgreens has implemented various cost-cutting measures. These include adjusting store hours, closing unprofitable locations, and exiting five markets and 60 clinics in the next fiscal year. Additionally, the company has paused the modernization of pharmacy systems and halted the launch of pharmacy automation technology centers.

Expansion of Micro-Fulfillment Centers

Despite facing challenges, Walgreens has opened 11 micro-fulfillment centers across 29 states in the past two years. The company plans to have a total of 19 such sites by the end of 2024. This expansion comes despite abandoning a sale of its international business unit worth over $6 billion and experiencing a 40% drop in share value this year.

Positive Market Response and Future Outlook

Following the announcement, Walgreens’ shares rose by 6.1%. The company’s U.S. retail pharmacy unit posted a revenue of $27.7 billion, while international business sales rose by 12%. Although fourth-quarter earnings slightly missed estimates, with 67 cents a share compared to the estimated 69 cents, the company expects an adjusted EPS of $3.20 to $3.50 for fiscal 2024. This projection takes into account a lower sale and leaseback contribution, a higher tax rate, and lower COVID-19 contribution.

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This article provides an overview of Walgreens’ fiscal year losses and the company’s plan to address these challenges through a cost reduction initiative. Despite the losses, Walgreens experienced sales growth in key segments. The cost-cutting measures implemented by the company, along with the expansion of micro-fulfillment centers, reflect its commitment to adapting to the changing market landscape. The positive market response indicates optimism for Walgreens’ future prospects.

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