“We continue to see tremendous potential to grow our share of this $7.4 billion market,” he said
The drugstore chain’s pharmacy business benefited last year from a wave of new generic drugs, which hurt revenue but help profit. The company didn’t see the same wave this year and that, along with increased promotions, pushed its profit as a percentage of sales down slightly to 28.1 percent.
“We are continuing to see a value-conscious consumer and the impact of a soft economy,” Wasson said.
He said the company hopes to make better use in future promotions of information it gets on customer buying habits from its Balance Rewards program, which Walgreen started last year. The customer loyalty program allows shoppers to gain points at both Walgreen and Duane Reade stores and for online purchases that translate into cash rewards they can then use at the stores.
Walgreen shares climbed 50 cents to $57.44 Friday morning while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index also rose slightly. The stock was up 54 percent so far this year through Thursday.
The shares have set new all-time high prices several times in 2013, according to FactSet.