Jul 9, 2020 - Health

Walgreens tallies $1.7 billion loss from coronavirus outbreak

A social distancing sign in a Walgreens pharmacy.
Walgreens lost $1.7 billion in its most recent quarter. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Walgreens lost $1.7 billion in the three-month stretch that ended May 31, as the coronavirus outbreak kept shoppers at home and raised stores' costs.

Why it matters: The pandemic and global stay-at-home orders consumed almost all of those three months. Walgreens will now cut 7% of its workforce, mostly in the United Kingdom.

By the numbers: Walgreens said the coronavirus eliminated at least $700 million in sales and led to higher employee and administrative costs to account for social distancing and cleaning stores.

  • However, most of the lost revenue occurred in pharmacies in the U.K., where stay-at-home orders were stricter. U.S. states were already reopening during the latter parts of Walgreens' quarter.

The big picture: Prescriptions declined heavily because patients stopped going to their doctors and because hospitals were admitted fewer patients.

  • But Walgreens still reported higher U.S. prescription sales due to higher drug prices.
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