Walgreen Boots Alliance (WBA) reported earnings on Thursday that beat estimates following the start of its major cost cutting strategy. The biggest U.S. drugstore chain raised its earnings outlook for the year ahead and announced that acting CEO Stefano Pessina will be offered the permanent role. The company reported earnings of $1.02 per share, beating the predicted $0.87 per share, revenue came in at $28.8 billion, up on last year's numbers but falling short of estimates. Walgreens merger with Alliance Boots gave company sales a boost and the drugstore chain announced an increase to its dividend of 6.7 percent. Same store sales were up 6.3 percent in U.S. stores. The company plans to close around 200 stores by the end of its restructuring and shift its focus to more high end products. The brand is aiming to make savings of around $1.5 billion in the next two years. Another acquisition is also in the cards, Walgreens announced that it will buy UK skincare and beauty brand Liz Earle, currently owned by Avon products (AVP) for $215.7 million in cash. Shares of Walgreen Boots were up around 3 percent following the earnings news. The stock is up around 13 percent this year.
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