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April 5 (Reuters) - Drugstore chain operator Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc, reported a surprise drop in quarterly sales, citing "challenging market conditions in continental Europe" and as a strong dollar reduced the value of sales outside the United States.
The company, which has been waiting nearly a year and a half for regulatory approval to buy smaller rival Rite Aid Corp , also said on Wednesday it would repurchase $1 billion worth of shares till Dec. 31.
Net income attributable to the company, rose to $1.06 billion, or 98 cents per share, in the second quarter ended Feb. 28, from $930 million, or 85 cents per share, a year earlier.
Net sales fell to $29.45 billion from $30.18 billion a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected sales to remain flat, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. (Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D'Couto)