NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) – A SHOT AT GOING PRIVATE. Transatlantic pharmacy group Walgreens Boots Alliance raised its guidance for the remaining two quarters of its financial year on Wednesday, thanks in part to more people coming into its stores to get Covid-19 vaccinations. It’s one component of the $48 billion company’s strategy for fighting off Amazon.com.
Walgreens has been under pressure from online competition, a lack of inflation in drug prices and a lockdown-induced dearth of customers needing things like cold medicine. But the company has at least partially turned the corner. It expects to administer up to 34 million vaccines this fiscal year. With the U.S. government paying $40 per shot, that’s a nice benefit in itself, and patients may also buy more candy and such while in the store.
Amazon can’t match Walgreens‘ in-store clinics. Yet the latter’s stock is still a third below its 2018 high, and Executive Chairman Stefano Pessina has explored taking the firm private. The latest results show why that might be a smart investment. (By Robert Cyran)
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