CVS Caremark sales jump with former Walgreen customers, raises outlook

WOONSOCKET,  R.I., Wed May 2, 2012 – CVS Caremark Corp. posted a sharp rise in first-quarter sales as the drugstore operator and pharmacy benefits manager continued to win over former patrons of Walgreen Co. stores, and the company raised its profit forecast.

CVS, which operates the CVS drugstore chain and the CVS Caremark pharmacy benefits management business, said sales rose 19.9 percent to $30.8 billion in the quarter, helped by an 8.4 percent increase in sales at drugstores open at least a year and more business from Medicare recipients.

Walgreen, the largest U.S. drugstore chain, stopped filling prescriptions for patients of Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefits manager, at the end of 2011. CVS, with more than 7,300 U.S. stores, is among the retailers benefiting as Express Scripts patients go elsewhere.

CVS cited the Walgreen-Express Scripts rift in raising its full-year profit forecast by 5 cents per share at both ends of its prior forecast, to between $3.23 and $3.33 per share. In the current quarter, it expects the impasse to lift earnings by 3 to 4 cents per share.

The company’s shares were up 3.1 percent in premarket trading.

CVS had net income of $776 million, or 59 cents a share, in the first quarter, compared with a profit of $713 million, or 52 cents a share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, CVS earned 65 cents per share, beating Wall Street estimated by 2 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Pharmacy services revenue rose 32.3 percent to $18.3 billion. Revenue in the drugstore unit rose 9.9 percent to $16 billion.