People walk by a CVS Pharmacy store in the Manhattan borough of New York City.
Shannon Stapleton | Reuters
CVS Health‘s fourth-quarter earnings beat Wall Street’s expectations on Tuesday as its pharmacy sales got a lift and it expands Covid-19 testing and vaccines.
Shares of the company were up 1.4% in premarket trading.
Here’s what the company reported for the fiscal fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with what analysts were expecting, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:
- Earnings per share: $1.30 adjusted vs. $1.24 expected
- Revenue: $69.55 billion vs. $68.75 billion expected
The drugstore chain reported fiscal fourth-quarter net income of $975 million, or 75 cents per share, down from $1.74 billion, or $1.33 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, it earned $1.30 per share, outpacing the $1.24 per share expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.
Revenue rose to $69.55 billion from $66.89 billion a year earlier. That’s higher than analysts’ expectations of $68.75 billion.
Same-store sales grew 5.3% during the three-month period compared with the same time a year earlier. They jumped by 7.5% in the pharmacy division, as prescription volume rose but were down by 1.8% in the front of store, as customers skipped visits and did not need to buy as much flu and cold medication during the pandemic.
CVS also shared its full-year guidance for the upcoming fiscal year. It projected earnings per share ranging from $6.06 to $6.22 and full-year adjusted earnings per share to $7.39 to $7.55. Its full-year cash flow from operations is projected at $12 billion to $12.5 billion.
CVS offers Covid-19 testing at many of its stores. The company said it has administered about 15 million tests nationwide. It has also given more than 3 million Covid vaccines in over 40,000 long-term care facilities. The drugstore chain and its competitor, Walgreens, struck a deal with the federal government in October to provide the shots to staff and residents at nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It began vaccinations at the facilities in December.
CVS is now taking on a larger role in the administration of Covid vaccines at its stores. Last week, the federal government shipped doses directly to retail pharmacies’ stores — including CVS locations in 11 states.
CVS Chief Executive Karen Lynch said the chain will step up its focus on offering a wider range of health-care services, beyond just filling prescriptions.
“Our goal is to make health care more accessible, more affordable and simpler,” she said in a news release. “In order to do this, we will accelerate the pace of our progress through targeted investments in key areas that will drive our consumer-focused strategy.”
As of Friday’s market close, CVS shares were up less than 1% over the past year. The company’s stock, which has a market value of $97.13 billion, touched a 52-week high of $77.23 in mid-January. It closed at $74.21 on Friday.
This story is developing and will be updated.