April 5, 2017 / 11:48 AM / 4 months ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Walgreens reports surprise drop in quarterly sales

2 Min Read

(Corrects last paragraph to show 12-month stock movement was "down 4.4 percent", not "up 82.5 percent")

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 also said on Wednesday it would repurchase $1 billion worth of shares till Dec. 31.

The largest U.S. drugstore chain, which has been waiting nearly a year and a half for regulatory approval to buy smaller rival Rite Aid Corp, did not provide an update on the deal.

Walgreens in January reduced its offer price to $6.50-$7.00 per share from $9.00, valuing Rite Aid at $6.84 billion-$7.37 billion, and said it expects the deal to close on July 31.

The average value of the dollar has risen 3.3 percent against a basket of currencies in the three months ended February.

Walgreens said sales from its international business fell 14.5 percent to $3.1 billion. Sales in its wholesale business, which also has operations in Europe, fell 10.6 percent to $5 billion.

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.

Excluding items, the company reported a profit of $1.36 per share, in line with the average analyst estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net sales fell to $29.45 billion from $30.18 billion a year earlier. Analysts on average had expected sales to remain flat.

The company's shares, which are down 4.4 percent in the last 12 months as of Tuesday's close, were down 1.2 percent in premarket trading. (Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D'Couto)

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