said Tuesday it has made progress in hiring new pharmacists and is now working to win back customers it lost during an industrywide pharmacist shortage.
At the same time, CVS said it earned 48 cents a share in the second quarter, matching lowered expectations. Latest-quarter earnings were 2 cents better than the same period last year. Sales for the quarter rose 11.2% to $5.5 billion, but growth was slower than expected because a shortage of pharmacists forced the company to slash pharmacy hours in four key metropolitan markets -- Detroit, Hartford, Cleveland and Washington, D.C. As a result, CVS disappointed investors with an
earnings warning in late June.
Shares lately traded up 21 cents at $36.93.
The shortage afflicted much of the industry, and was blamed in part for
, the nation's largest drugstore chain,
missing estimates in June.
In a conference call Tuesday, Tom Ryan, CVS' chairman and chief executive, said the company has been able to attract new pharmacists with generous pay packages that include stock options, and is now set to restore full pharmacy service in those four markets. The company has launched a mass mailing campaign to win back customers in those cities, Ryan said.
"We are in the best staffing position we have been in for two years," he said.
The company said its earnings in the third quarter will be 35 cents to 37 cents a share, with sales growth of 12% to 13%. For the full year, earnings are expected to be between $1.92 and $1.96 a share. These figures are in line with current Thomson Financial/First Call consensus estimates.