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reported disappointing fiscal first-quarter earnings and revenue, blaming a late start to the cold and flu season.

During the quarter, the drugstore earned $554 million, or 63 cents a share, compared with a profit of $580 million, or 62 cents, in the year-earlier period. Revenue grew 4.7% to $18.16 billion.

Wall Street was calling for a profit of 67 cents a share on revenue of $18.24 billion.

Walgreen administered 5 million flu shots as of Nov. 30, compared with 5.6 million in the same period last year.

The company also said there has been no progress in negotiations with pharmacy benefits manager

Express Scripts


. The contract between the two companies expires next week and Walgreen has said that it is prepared to stop doing business with the PBM unless the partnership becomes more lucrative.

"While we remain open to any fair and competitive offer from Express Scripts, we firmly believe that accepting their proposal was not in the best long-term interests of our shareholders," Walgreen CEO Greg Wasson said in a statement.

Currently, $5.3 billion of Walgreen's revenue comes from Express Scripts. The decision to discontinue business with Express Scripts resulted in a 1-cent-per-share hit in comparable pharmacy sales and 1-cent per share in expenses during the quarter.

Shares of Walgreen tumbled 6% to $31.48 before the bell on Wednesday.


Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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