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COVID-19 Took Another Bite from Walgreens But It Left Better-Than-Expected Earnings

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Earnings

On Thursday, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBA) revealed its earnings report for its fourth quarter and 2020 FY that ended on August 31st, 2020. Walgreens has topped earnings forecasts and sees profit growth despite the pandemic. Although COVID-19 took another bite out of Walgreens Boots Alliance quarterly numbers, at least this time, it left behind better-than-expected earnings. Following the release, Dow member’s stock rose 5.6%, which trimmed its six-month drop to approximately 12.75%.

Q4 highlights 

Fourth quarter sales increased 2% to $34.7 billion but net income fell nearly 45% to $373 million. The decreases in both net earnings and adjusted net earnings were primarily due to an estimated adverse COVID-19 impact of $520 million, lower U.S. pharmacy gross profit and year-on-year bonus changes. The negative impact was partially offset by Transformational Cost Management Program savings.

Its overseas business struggled again as the pandemic hampered customer traffic and prescription demand in the U.K. On a bright note, sales and prescriptions grew in United States. The largest U.S. pharmacy chain with roughly 9,000 locations announced it is forced to close more U.S. stores than additionally planned.

A slow recovery from COVID-19

While the company anticipates a gradual reduction in COVID-19 impacts, the first half results will continue to be negatively impacted when compared to the pre-COVID-19 first half of fiscal 2020. However, for the second half, the company anticipates strong adjusted EPS growth, as these effects subside and recovery starts taking place in Walgreen’s key markets.

Outlook

Even with the pandemic aside, Walgreens needs to evolve its business model to be able to keep up with competitors such as CVS Health Corporation (NYSE: CVS). Besides focusing on surviving the storm, it has key strategic initiatives to implement. It needs to accelerate the Boots UK turn-around. It needs to advance its omnichannel capabilities to catch the online retail wave. Its digital agenda involves the launch of myWalgreens, an enhanced customer loyalty program which will serve more than 100 million consumers. The goal is to expand convenient pickup options so customers can have their product within 30 minutes. Also, it will be leveraging its investment in VillageMD as it plans to open 500 to 700 full-service doctor offices over the next five years. The initial phase of openings is planned during fiscal 2021 to catch the telemedicine wave, the adoption of which has only accelerated with the pandemic. Moreover, it needs to continue implementing its Transformational Cost Management Program that has already brought in significant cost savings. At the end of the day, Walgreens did exceed analysts’ earnings expectations in the fourth quarter. Moreover, it expects a major comeback in fiscal 2021 as it projected “low single-digit growth in adjusted earnings per share” in its guidance. Although it estimates a challenging first half of the year, there is increased optimism for the second half.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

News From The Vaccine World

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Less than a year before the COVID-19 started its relentless march across the globe Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) was facing delisting from the Nasdaq. The 33-year-old Maryland-based pharmaceutical company didn’t have a single approved shot after hundreds of millions of dollars invested in its R&D efforts. Wall Street likes to take bets on unproven biotech such as Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA), but it can be unforgiving of failure.  Fortunately, Novavax is now on the verge of getting approval in the UK, which will probably be followed by the US. Interim data have shown that its vaccine has an efficacy rate up there with the shots developed by Moderna, BioNTech (NASDAQ: BNTX) and Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), all of which are based on revolutionary mRNA technology. However, Novavax’ candidate s is cheaper and easier to transport and can be stored at room temperature for at least 24 hours. Additionally, the one-shot candidate by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JMJ) that can be kept at normal temperatures was granted an emergency use authorization during the weekend.

Merck and Johnson will join forces

Merck & Co Inc (NYSE: MRK) will manufacture the vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JMJ) under an unusual deal that the Biden administration engineered to boost production of the single-shot ja which has been hampered by manufacturing delays.

The Biden administration helped to engineer the deal between the competitors after J&J, which was, experienced production hold-ups. J&J is the world’s largest healthcare company, but when it comes to vaccines, Merck has the expertise as it is one of the world’s largest vaccine makers with many approved shots.

Sanofi (NASDAQ: SNY) is another large vaccine maker that has fallen behind in the COVID-19 vaccine race and has agreed to help boost supplies of the J&J vaccine in Europe. Last month, it stated it would use its capacity to fill vials.

Novavax has finally stopped gasping for air

The CEO of Novavax, Stanley Erck, stated their candidate is more than 90% effective against the original strain, 86% effective against the U.K. strain and considerably less effective against the South African strain. According to forecasts, Novavax will generate more than $5 billion in revenue this year. As it is applying for approval for it flu shot, it will start studies on combining the Covid-19 and flu vaccine into a single shot later this year.

A story with a happy ending for everyone?

Novavax’s story resembles a Cinderella story as a little company that was on the verge of potentially closing has really been able to play with the big boys in the race for the Covid vaccine. The bottom line is that the US will have enough coronavirus vaccine doses for every adult by the end of May, which is sooner than anticipated, thanks in part to an unusual type of collaboration we didn’t see since World War II between two of the country’s largest drugmakers.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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Workhorse and Worksport Both Delivered Good News This Week

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EV Update

This week began with good news in the EV world. On Monday, electric truck maker Workhorse Group (NASDAQ: WKHS) reported before market open. Its shares bounced 4.7% in midday trading Monday after the electric vehicle maker reported a surprise fourth-quarter net profit despite falling short on sales. A piece of good news were more then welcome after last week’s selloff that plunged as low as 47.5% plunge last Tuesday, after the U.S. Postal Service awarded a contract for delivery trucks exclusively to Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK), while Workhorse was widely expected to win at least a part of the contract. On Tuesday morning, tonneau-cover manufacturer Worksport (OTC: WKSP) announced it is expanding its capacity to meet increased demand. Worksport announced this morning that it received over US$2.3 Million to date from Exercised Warrants from the recent oversubscribed Regulation A offering.

Workhorse Q4 results

The company reported its net income rose to $280.5 million from $655,000 a year ago, thanks largely to income derived from its investment in Lordstown Motors (NASDAQ: RIDE), an electric pickup startup founded by Workhorse’s former chief executive. The FactSet expected a net loss of $15.1 million. Revenues increased from $3,000 to $652,000, due to a higher volume of produced and delivered trucks, but still came short of FactSet consensus of $1.2 million. According to its Chief Executive, the company is entering the new year in its strongest-ever position, both financially and operationally. With over $200 million of cash on its balance sheet and over 8,000 vehicles in its backlog, it can reliably continue building its multi-year growth plan.

The EV maker is not taking a recent high-profile defeat lying down

The company also revealed it will meet with U.S. Postal Service (USPS) management on Wednesday to discuss the latter’s recent awarding of a 10-year contract that would place Workhorse among top EV manufacturers. With at least 50,000 trucks to be manufactured within a decade, this will be the most dramatic modernization of the USPS fleet in three decades. While the USPS is one of the more financially strapped government entities, cy it’s considered to be an extremely reliable business partner. Following the USPS’s awarding of the contract to Oshkosh, Workhorse issued a press release in which it clearly stated it intends to explore all avenues that are available to non-awarded finalists in a government bidding process. Its odds of getting a second shot could depend on whether President Biden is able to force out the postmaster general who was installed last year by board members appointed by former President Donald Trump.

Worksport is expanding due to increased demand

Innovative pickup truck tonneau cover manufacturer Worksport partnered with Atlis Motor Vehicles and Hercules Electric Vehicles to configure its revolutionary TerraVis solar system for their upcoming electric pickup trucks is expanding further. The company announced on Tuesday morning it is in the final phase of a strategic manufacturing expansion discussions with a few Tier-1 and Tier-2 OEM manufacturing power houses in Canada. The company aims to expand its manufacturing into North American state-of-the-art facilities with 20,000 to 50,000 square feet of operating space to meet its recent U.S.-based Private Label customer growth.  Considering the company was awarded its first trademark in China, this is only the beginning of Worksport’s growth story, not to mention the company is also expanding outside the pickup truck market to the consumer market by extending its solar fusion line with mobile TerraVis COR™ system that can be used independently and recharged via solar or A/C power. These discussions involve logistics to ensure scalability in the manufacturing processes. The expansion will give the company control over capital expenses, greatly reducing risks of overextending its financials during periods of intense demand while building its major Automotive, Freight & Transport, Marine, and Rail ecosystems. With its CEO Steven Rossi at the helm, Workhorse is going all in to exceed customer expectations in terms of quality, innovation, convenience and last but not least, affordability.

Outlook

Workhorse aims to increase production to three trucks a day by the end of this month and reach a daily output of 10 trucks by the end of June. Worksport is aiming to become a Tier 1 OEM manufacturer of solar-powered tonneau covers for electric makers and by the looks of it, it’s well on track, especially as it successfully closed its $4 million Regulation A offering at the beginning February well ahead of the scheduled closing due in November 2021. Demand that is fueling Worksport to rapid growth is key, which is why Workhorse isn’t willing to take USPS’ no for answer.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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Target Hits The Bull’s Eye With Yet Another Quarter

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Some of its biggest peers such as Macy’s Inc (NYSE: M) and Best Buy Co.Inc (NYSE: BBY) came out with improving fourth quarter sales and profit outlook as a tiny bit of normalcy begins to return to consumer spending, but now it’s Target’s (NYSE: TGT) turn in the spotlight. Earnings topped estimates as sales rose 21%, boosted by a surge of post-holiday shoppers that cashed in stimulus checks during an unusually strong period for the industry as a government report revealed sales increased 5.3% in January. As of Monday’s close, Target shares have risen nearly 81% over the past year, bringing the company’s market value to $93.19 billion.

Q4

For the fiscal fourth quarter ended on January 30th, revenue rose 21% to $28.34 billion from $23.4 billion last year, higher than analysts’ expectations of $27.48 billion. Comparable sales, a key metric that tracks sales at stores open at least 13 months and online, went up 20.5% compared to the prior year as digital comparable sales rose by 118% YoY. After strong holiday sales, online sales gained even more momentum as Americans cashed in their $600 stimulus checks in January. As impressive as they are, both metrics show deceleration in terms of growth rates versus the third quarter. In mid-January, Target reported that sales grew 17% during the holidays, which is a slight slowdown from the third quarter’s 21% spike, but it is still a lot better compared to the 9% that Walmart (NYSE: WMT) experienced.

Profit margin was 26.80% and the operating margin amounted to 6.50%. Net income rose 66% to $1.38 billion, or $2.73 per share, increasing from last year quarter’s $834 million or $1.63 per share. Excluding items, Target earned $2.67 per share, exceeding Refinitiv’s average expectation of $2.54.

New customers and more purchases

Target has attracted new customers and inspired more purchases with its e-commerce offerings and wide range of merchandise, from cereal to workout pants, as competitors like Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE: KSS) were forced to temporarily close stores due to the pandemic. Citing internal and third-party research, Target estimates it gained about $9 billion in market share during the fiscal year. Customers shopped more frequently with Target and bought more when they did during the holiday quarter thanks to its e-commerce offerings and wide range of merchandise.

A variety of approaches to shopping

By offering different multiple channels, Target is strengthening customer loyalty. Same-day services saw sales grow by 212% and curbside pickup service sales grew by more than 500% during the quarter. On average, customers who shop in both in stores and online spend nearly four times more than those who shop only in stores and nearly ten times more than those who only shops online.

Fiscal 2020

2020 sales grew by more than $15 billion which is greater than Target’s combined sales growth of the last 11 years. Comparable sales grew 19.3%, reflecting 7.2% growth in store comparable sales, and 145% growth in digital comparable sales.

Target’s 2020 stock price rally is largely owed to improved margins. While the competitive holiday season usually pressures this figure, this wasn’t so much of an issue this year as shoppers happily paid the full price for more convenient and faster fulfillment options, including premium merchandise.

Another quarter in which Target hit the bull’s eye is in the books ended a record year which is not a pandemic-related blip but the payoff of its long-term business strategy. Record growth in 2020 was a result of many years of investment to build a durable, scalable and sustainable business model that enabled the big box retailer to capitalize on the opportunity that was provided by the pandemic.

Outlook

Target remains extra cautious in the face of continued uncertainty as the pandemic has made it too difficult to predict consumer patterns. No sales or EPS guidance for fiscal 2021 were provided. Although shoppers are still cautious, Target is also seeing hopeful consumers who are looking forward to a post-pandemic life, expecting to see shoppers browsing aisles and returning to buying items such as apparel for work or going out as well as new luggage. To find a way to hold on to customer’s wallets after vaccines kick in, the big box retailer plans to invest about $4 billion per year over the next several years to open new stores, upgrade existing ones and enhance its ability to quickly fulfill online orders.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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