CVS Caremark profit falls


POSTED: Wednesday, May 06, 2009

NEW YORK » CVS Caremark Corp. said yesterday that charges and higher costs outweighed a boost in the drugstore operator's pharmacy sales, pushing first-quarter profit down slightly.

But overall, CVS' results showed some resilience to the tough economy, which has battered even sales of essential items like prescriptions.

CVS said revenue from both prescriptions and discretionary items increased, with most products selling well, aside from cough and cold treatments.

The company also said the integration of Longs Drugs stores, which the company bought in October, is going better than it expected. The $2.7 billion deal gave CVS 529 stores in California, Hawaii and other Western states, along with the RxAmerica pharmacy benefits-management business.

CVS has a specialty CarePlus Pharmacy in Kailua as well as at Waterfront Plaza in downtown Honolulu but no CVS/pharmacy retail stores in Hawaii.

The company earned $738.4 million, or 50 cents a share, down from profit of $745 million, or 51 cents a share, a year prior. Revenue rose 10 percent to $23.39 billion from $21.33 billion.

CVS raised its profit forecast for the year by 2 cents, to a range of $2.55 to $2.63 a share, excluding one-time costs.