WOONSOCKET – CVS Caremark Corp., the largest provider of prescription drugs in the U.S., posted first-quarter profit that missed analyst estimates as cold weather and a mild flu season hurt sales. The company reaffirmed its 2014 forecast.
Net income rose 18.5 percent to $1.13 billion, or 95 cents a share, from $954 million, or 77 cents, a year earlier, the company said Friday in a statement. Excluding one-time items, earnings were $1.02 a share, missing by 2 cents the average of 21 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Total revenue increased 6.3 percent to $32.7 billion from $30.8 billion a year earlier, beating the $32.3 billion average of analysts’ estimates.
Full-year earnings are still forecast to be $4.36 to $4.50 a share, the Woonsocket-based company said in the statement.
The severe winter weather kept consumers out of storefront pharmacies during the quarter, reducing sales of prescription drugs and consumer goods. The mild influenza season and recent introductions of generic drugs also hurt comparison with a year earlier.
CVS previously announced plans to stop selling tobacco products at its more than 7,600 pharmacy stores in the U.S. by October, a potential $2 billion a year sales hit. Growth in prescription drug sales, driven by new health insurance available to the 48 million previously uninsured Americans through the Affordable Care Act, and concentration on care provided through the company’s more than 800 MinuteClinics may help replace some lost revenue, company executives said.
CVS rose less than 1 percent to $73.09 yesterday in New York trading. The shares had risen 24 percent in the year through yesterday.