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    Walgreen Reports 10 Percent Increase in Second-quarter Earnings

    DEERFIELD, Ill. - Walgreen Co. today announced record sales and earnings for the second quarter and first half of fiscal 2002.

    DEERFIELD, Ill. - Walgreen Co. today announced record sales and earnings for the second quarter and first half of fiscal 2002.

    Net earnings for the quarter ended Feb. 28 were up 10.0 percent to $326.6 million or 32 cents per share (diluted), from $296.9 million or 29 cents per share (diluted) in the same quarter a year ago. Last year's results include a gain of 1 cent per share for a partial payment of the company's share of the brand name prescription drug antitrust litigation settlement. Excluding the gain, earnings rose 15.3 percent from last year's $283.3 million or 28 cents per share.

    First half net earnings climbed 12.6 percent to $512.5 million or 50 cents per share (diluted), including last year's gain noted above and an after-tax gain of $3.4 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2002 from the same litigation settlement. Without the gains, first half earnings rose 15.3 percent to $509.1 million or 49 cents per share.

    Sales increased 16.5 percent to a record $7.5 billion for the second quarter and 16.6 percent to $14.0 billion for the half. Total sales in comparable stores (those open more than a year) were up 10.2 percent in the quarter.

    Prescriptions, which accounted for 56 percent of sales in the quarter, climbed 21.4 percent. Prescription sales in comparable stores rose 16.4 percent in the quarter. Third party plans now account for 90 percent of all prescription sales.

    "We're pleased to announce another record quarter. But we're not just interested in earnings," said chairman Dan Jorndt. "We're interested in quality earnings. We're a 'what-you-see-is-what-you-get' company. We shun one-time write-offs, we pay as we go, we have virtually no long-term debt and we have conservative, easy-to-understand financial statements."

    Walgreens opened 210 new stores in the first half, with a net gain of 158 locations. "We're on target to open approximately 475 new stores this year and are ahead of schedule to reach our goal of 6,000 stores by 2010," said Jorndt.

    "This quarter we registered market share gains in 55 of our top 60 categories versus our drugstore, grocery and mass merchant competition," said CEO and president David Bernauer. "We continue to see increases in customer count as more and more shoppers choose Walgreens."

    At Feb. 28, Walgreens operated 3,678 drugstores in 43 states and Puerto Rico, versus 3,343 a year ago, for a net increase of 335.

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