Walgreen Earnings Rise, Top Estimates

WalgreenDrugstore chain Walgreen Co. (WAG) posted earnings of 49 cents per diluted share for the quarter, compared with 44 cents per share a year ago.

Sales for the quarter rose 7.4% to $16.9 billion in the quarter ended Aug. 31, the company said in a statement. Comparable store sales, not including Duane Reade stores, rose 1.5%.

"The double-digit increase in fourth quarter earnings per share was driven by strong operating performance across our 7,500-store network and expense control companywide," said Walgreens CEO Greg Wasson.

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The figure for earnings per share includes the impact of 4 cents per share associated with the Duane Reade acquisition and 1 cent per share in restructuring costs associated with the company's Rewiring for Growth initiative.

For fiscal 2010, net earnings per share rose 5% to $2.12 per share. Sales were $67.4 billion.

The company also completed its $2 billion share repurchase program in the quarter.
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