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EX-32.2 - EXHIBIT 32.2 - Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.a83118exhibit322.htm
EX-32.1 - EXHIBIT 32.1 - Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.a83118exhibit321.htm
EX-31.2 - EXHIBIT 31.2 - Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.a83118exhibit312.htm
EX-31.1 - EXHIBIT 31.1 - Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.a83118exhibit311.htm
EX-23.1 - EXHIBIT 23.1 - Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.a83118exhibit231.htm
EX-21 - EXHIBIT 21 - Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.a83118exhibit21.htm
EX-12 - EXHIBIT 12 - Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.a83118exhibit12.htm
EX-10.55 - EXHIBIT 10.55 - Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.a83118exhibit1055.htm
EX-10.46 - EXHIBIT 10.46 - Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.a83118exhibit1046.htm
EX-10.18 - EXHIBIT 10.18 - Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.a83118exhibit1018.htm
 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2018 
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the Transition Period From ____________ to ___________
Commission file number 001-36759
WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
 
47-1758322
(State of incorporation)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
108 Wilmot Road, Deerfield, Illinois
 
60015
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:  (847) 315-2500
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
 
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock ($.01 Par Value)
 
The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC
2.875% Notes due 2020
 
New York Stock Exchange
3.600% Notes due 2025
 
New York Stock Exchange
2.125% Notes due 2026
 
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:    None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.      Yes ☒          No ☐
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.   Yes ☐          No ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports) and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).      Yes  ☒  No ☐
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of the Form 10-K or any amendment to the Form 10-K. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
 
Large accelerated filer ☒
Accelerated filer ☐
 
Non-accelerated filer ☐
Smaller reporting company ☐
 
 
Emerging growth company ☐
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).          Yes ☐          No ☒
As of February 28, 2018, the aggregate market value of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. common stock held by non-affiliates (based upon the closing transaction price on such date) was approximately $58.2 billion. As of September 30, 2018, there were 949,164,514 shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. common stock outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the definitive proxy statement for our Annual Meeting of Stockholders planned to be held on January 25, 2019 are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K as indicated herein.
 



Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
Annual Report on Form 10-K
Table of Contents
Part I
 
 
 
 
 
Page
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
 
 
Part II
 
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
 
Part III
 
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
 
Part IV
 
Item 15.
Item 16.
 
 
On December 31, 2014, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. became the successor of Walgreen Co. (“Walgreens”) pursuant to a merger to effect a reorganization of Walgreens into a holding company structure (the “Reorganization”), with Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. becoming the parent holding company.

References in this Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Form 10-K”) to the “Company,” “we,” “us” or “our” refer to Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. and its subsidiaries from and after the effective time of the Reorganization on December 31, 2014 and, prior to that time, to the predecessor registrant Walgreens and its subsidiaries, and in each case do not include unconsolidated partially-owned entities, except as otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires. Our fiscal year ends on August 31, and references herein to “fiscal 2018” refer to our fiscal year ended August 31, 2018.

This Form 10-K includes forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. See cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements in management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations in part II, item 7 below.

All trademarks, trade names and service marks used herein are the property of their respective owners.



PART I
Item 1.  Business

Overview
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Walgreens Boots Alliance”) is the first global, pharmacy-led health and wellbeing enterprise with sales of $131.5 billion in the fiscal year ended August 31, 2018. Our purpose is to help people across the world lead healthier and happier lives.

Walgreens Boots Alliance is the largest retail pharmacy, health and daily living destination across the U.S. and Europe. Walgreens Boots Alliance and the companies in which it has equity method investments together have a presence in more than 251 countries and employ more than 415,0001 people. The Company is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail and, together with the companies in which it has equity method investments, has over 18,5001 stores in 111 countries as well as one of the largest global pharmaceutical wholesale and distribution networks, with over 3901 distribution centers delivering to more than 230,0002 pharmacies, doctors, health centers and hospitals each year in more than 201 countries. In addition, Walgreens Boots Alliance is one of the world’s largest purchasers of prescription drugs and many other health and wellbeing products.
 
Our portfolio of retail and business brands includes Walgreens, Duane Reade, Boots and Alliance Healthcare, as well as increasingly global health and beauty product brands, such as No7, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle, Sleek MakeUP and Botanics. Our global brands portfolio is enhanced by our in-house product research and development capabilities. We seek to further drive innovative ways to address global health and wellness challenges. We believe we are well positioned to expand customer offerings in existing markets and become a health and wellbeing partner of choice in emerging markets.

Walgreens Boots Alliance is proud to be a force for good, leveraging many decades of experience and its international scale, to care for people and the planet through numerous social responsibility and sustainability initiatives that have an impact on the health and wellbeing of millions of people.

Walgreens Boots Alliance was incorporated in Delaware in 2014 and, as described below, is the successor of Walgreen Co., an Illinois corporation, which was formed in 1909 as a successor to a business founded in 1901. Our principal executive offices are located at 108 Wilmot Road, Deerfield, Illinois 60015. Our common stock trades on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol “WBA”.

1 
As of August 31, 2018, using publicly available information for AmerisourceBergen.
2 
For 12 months ending August 31, 2018, using publicly available information for AmerisourceBergen.

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Recent transactions
On December 6, 2017 the Company announced that it had reached an agreement with China National Accord Medicines Corporation Ltd. to become an investor in its subsidiary Sinopharm Holding Guoda Drugstores Co., Ltd. (“GuoDa”), a leading retail pharmacy chain in China. Following a public tender process, the Company’s bid met all the requirements set by the seller to acquire a 40 percent equity interest in GuoDa for approximately $416 million. On July 5, 2018, the Company acquired its 40 percent equity interest and began to account for this investment using the equity method of accounting. See note 5, equity method investments, to the Consolidated Financial Statements included herein for further information.

On September 19, 2017, the Company announced that it had secured regulatory clearance for an amended and restated asset purchase agreement to purchase 1,932 stores, three distribution centers and related inventory from Rite Aid Corporation (“Rite Aid”) for $4.375 billion in cash and other consideration. The purchases of these stores occurred in waves during fiscal 2018 for total cash consideration of $4.2 billion and have been accounted for as business combinations. The transition of the first distribution center and related inventory occurred in September 2018 and the transition of the remaining two distribution centers and related inventory remains subject to closing conditions set forth in the amended and restated asset purchase agreement. Previously, on June 28, 2017, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Rite Aid had terminated an amended agreement and plan of merger pursuant to which the Company had agreed to acquire Rite Aid. Pursuant to such termination, the Company paid Rite Aid a termination fee of $325 million. The Company also reimbursed $25 million of transaction costs of Fred’s, Inc. in connection with the termination of an asset purchase agreement among the Company, Rite Aid and Fred’s, Inc. that was subject to the completion of the acquisition of Rite Aid by Walgreens Boots Alliance. See note 7, debt, to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information relating to the termination of the amended agreement and plan of merger and related matters.

On March 31, 2017, Walgreens Boots Alliance and pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics LLC closed a transaction to form a combined central specialty pharmacy and mail services company, AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, as part of a strategic alliance. AllianceRx Walgreens Prime is consolidated by Walgreens Boots Alliance and reported within the Retail Pharmacy USA division in its financial statements. See note 2, acquisitions, to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information.

In 2016, the Company exercised warrants to purchase an aggregate of 45,393,824 shares of AmerisourceBergen Corporation (“AmerisourceBergen”) common stock for an aggregate exercise price payment of $2.36 billion. Following the August 25, 2016 warrant exercise, the Company does not hold any further warrants to purchase shares of AmerisourceBergen common stock. As of August 31, 2018 and 2017, the Company owned 56,854,867 AmerisourceBergen common shares, representing approximately 26% of the outstanding AmerisourceBergen common stock, which investment the Company accounts for using the equity method of accounting, subject to a two-month reporting lag and had designated one member of AmerisourceBergen’s board of directors. As of August 31, 2018, the Company can acquire up to an additional 8,398,752 AmerisourceBergen shares in the open market and thereafter designate a second member of AmerisourceBergen’s board of directors, subject in each case to applicable legal and contractual requirements. The amount of permitted open market purchases is subject to increase or decrease in certain circumstances. The warrants were issued in March 2013 pursuant to a Framework Agreement between Walgreens, Alliance Boots GmbH (“Alliance Boots”) and AmerisourceBergen. Concurrently, Walgreens, Alliance Boots and AmerisourceBergen announced various other agreements and arrangements, including a ten-year pharmaceutical distribution agreement between Walgreens and AmerisourceBergen pursuant to which the Company sources branded and generic pharmaceutical products from AmerisourceBergen in the U.S. and an agreement which provides AmerisourceBergen the ability to access generics pharmaceutical products through the Company’s global sourcing enterprise. In May 2016, certain agreements were extended for three years to now expire in 2026.
 
In addition, the Company has completed a number of additional acquisitions, divestitures and strategic initiatives in recent years designed to grow its businesses and enhance its competitive position. Please refer to management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations in part II, item 7, below and note 2, acquisitions, note 3, exit and disposal activities, and note 5, equity method investments, to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in part II, item 8, below for additional information.

Industry overview
The retail pharmacy and pharmaceutical wholesale industries across the globe are highly competitive and dynamic and have experienced consolidation and an evolving competitive landscape in recent years. Prescription drugs play a significant role in healthcare and constitute a first line of treatment for many medical conditions. The Company believes the long-term outlook for prescription drug utilization is strong due, in part, to aging populations, increases in life expectancy, increases in the availability of generic drugs, the continued development of innovative drugs that improve quality of life and control healthcare costs and increases in the number of persons with insurance coverage for prescription drugs, including, in the United States, “baby boomers” increasingly becoming eligible for the federally funded Medicare Part D prescription program. Pharmaceutical

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wholesalers act as a vital link between drug manufacturers and pharmacies and healthcare providers in supplying pharmaceuticals to patients.

The retail pharmacy industry across the globe relies significantly on private and governmental third-party payers. Many private organizations throughout the healthcare industry, including pharmacy benefit management (“PBM”) companies and health insurance companies, have consolidated in recent years to create larger healthcare enterprises with greater bargaining power. Third-party payers, including the Medicare Part D plans and the state-sponsored Medicaid and related managed care Medicaid agencies in the United States, can change eligibility requirements or reduce certain reimbursement rates. In addition, in many European countries, the government provides or subsidizes healthcare to consumers and regulates pharmaceutical prices, patient eligibility and reimbursement levels to control costs for the government-sponsored healthcare system. Changes in law or regulation also can impact reimbursement rates and terms. For example, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”) was enacted to help control federal healthcare spending, including for prescription drugs, in the United States. These changes generally are expected to reduce Medicaid reimbursements in the United States. State Medicaid programs are also expected to continue to seek reductions in reimbursements. When third-party payers or governmental authorities take actions that restrict eligibility or reduce prices or reimbursement rates, sales and margins in the retail pharmacy industry could be reduced, which would adversely affect industry profitability. In some cases, these possible adverse effects may be partially or entirely offset by controlling inventory costs and other expenses, dispensing more higher margin generics, finding new revenue streams through pharmacy services or other offerings and/or dispensing a greater volume of prescriptions.

These industry dynamics and challenges are continuous and have intensified in recent years. Since the completion of the strategic combination with Alliance Boots in December 2014, the Company has had a continuous focus on operational efficiencies and cost reduction. During fiscal 2019, the Company intends to maintain this focus, including the evaluation of a number of potential strategic cost management initiatives.

Generic prescription drugs have continued to help lower overall costs for customers and third-party payers. The Company expects the utilization of generic pharmaceuticals to continue to increase. In general, in the United States, generic versions of drugs generate lower sales dollars per prescription, but higher gross profit dollars, as compared with patent-protected brand name drugs. The impact on retail pharmacy gross profit dollars can be significant in the first several months after a generic version of a drug is first allowed to compete with the branded version, which is generally referred to as a “generic conversion”. In any given year, the number of major brand name drugs that undergo a conversion from branded to generic status can vary and the timing of generic conversions can be difficult to predict, which can have a significant impact on retail pharmacy sales and gross profit dollars.

The Company expects that market demand, government regulation, third-party reimbursement policies, government contracting requirements and other pressures will continue to cause the industries in which the Company competes to evolve. Pharmacists are on the frontlines of the healthcare delivery system, and the Company believes rising healthcare costs and the limited supply of primary care physicians present opportunities for pharmacists and retail pharmacies to play an even greater role in driving positive outcomes for patients and payers through expanded service offerings such as immunizations and other preventive care, healthcare clinics, pharmacist-led medication therapy management and chronic condition management.

Segments
Our operations are organized into three divisions, which are also our reportable segments:
 
Retail Pharmacy USA;
Retail Pharmacy International; and
Pharmaceutical Wholesale.

For fiscal 2018, our segment sales were: Retail Pharmacy USA, $98.4 billion; Retail Pharmacy International, $12.3 billion; and Pharmaceutical Wholesale, $23.0 billion. Additional information relating to our segments is included in management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations in part II, item 7 below and in note 16, segment reporting, to our Consolidated Financial Statements included in part II, item 8 below, which information is incorporated herein by reference.

Retail Pharmacy USA
The Retail Pharmacy USA division (excluding equity method investments) has pharmacy-led health and beauty retail offerings in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, each focused on helping people feel happy and healthy. The Company operated 9,560 retail stores in the division as of August 31, 2018. The principal retail pharmacy brands in the division are Walgreens and Duane Reade. The Company is a market leader in the United States and, as of August 31,

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2018, approximately 78% of the population of the United States lived within five miles of a Walgreens, Duane Reade or acquired Rite Aid retail pharmacy.

The division provides customers with convenient, omni-channel access to consumer goods and services, including own branded general merchandise such as NICE!, DeLish, Soap & Glory, No7 and Well at Walgreens, as well as pharmacy and health and wellness services in communities across America. Integrated with the Company’s e-commerce platform, the Walgreens mobile application allows customers to refill prescriptions through scan technology, receive alerts when a refill is due and perform retail functionality, such as ordering photo prints, shopping for products and clipping coupons.

The Company’s services help improve health outcomes for patients and manage costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, PBM companies and the public sector. The Company utilizes its retail network as a channel to provide health and wellness services to its customers and patients, as illustrated by the Company’s ability to play a significant role in providing flu vaccines and other immunizations. The Company also provides specialty pharmacy and mail services. As of August 31, 2018, the Company had approximately 400 in-store clinic locations throughout the United States, some of which are operated by the Company and some of which are operated by health system partners. The Company has more than 85,000 healthcare service providers, including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, nurse practitioners and other health related professionals.

The components of the division’s sales are Pharmacy (the sale of prescription drugs and provision of pharmacy-related services) and Retail (the sale of healthcare and retail products including non-prescription drugs, beauty, toiletries and general merchandise). The division’s sales are subject to the influence of seasonality, particularly the winter holiday and cough, cold and flu seasons. This seasonality also can affect the division’s proportion of sales between Retail and Pharmacy during certain periods. The components of the division’s fiscal year sales were as follows:
 
 
Fiscal 2018
 
Fiscal 2017
 
Fiscal 2016
Pharmacy
 
72
%
 
69
%
 
67
%
Retail
 
28
%
 
31
%
 
33
%
Total
 
100
%
 
100
%
 
100
%

The Company filled 823.1 million prescriptions (including immunizations) in the division in fiscal 2018. Adjusted to 30-day equivalents, prescriptions filled were 1.1 billion in fiscal 2018. Sales where reimbursement is received from managed care organizations, governmental agencies, PBM companies and private insurance were approximately 98% of the division’s fiscal 2018 Pharmacy sales.

The Company fills prescriptions for many state Medicaid public assistance programs. Sales from all such Medicaid plans were approximately 4% of the division’s fiscal 2018 sales. Sales from Medicare Part D plans were approximately 19% of the division’s fiscal 2018 sales.

The Company’s U.S. loyalty program, Balance® Rewards, is designed to reward its most valuable customers and encourage shopping in stores and online. Balance® Rewards members receive special pricing on select products and earn everyday rewards points for purchasing most merchandise that can be instantly redeemed in store or through walgreens.com. As of August 31, 2018, the number of active Balance® Rewards members totaled approximately 88 million. For this purpose, an active member is defined here as someone who has used their card in the last six months.

AmerisourceBergen supplies and distributes a significant amount of generic and branded pharmaceutical products to the division’s pharmacies. The Company purchases its non-pharmaceutical merchandise from numerous manufacturers and wholesalers.

The division’s sales, gross profit margin and gross profit are impacted by, among other things, both the percentage of prescriptions filled that are generic and the rate at which new generic drugs are introduced to the market. Because any number of factors outside of the Company’s control can affect timing for a generic conversion, the Company faces substantial uncertainty in predicting when such conversions will occur and what effect they will have on particular future periods.

The current environment of the Company’s pharmacy business also includes ongoing reimbursement pressure and a shift in pharmacy mix towards 90-day at retail (one prescription that is the equivalent of three 30-day prescriptions) and Medicare Part D prescriptions. Further consolidation among generic manufacturers coupled with changes in the number of major brand name drugs anticipated to undergo a conversion from branded to generic status may also result in gross margin pressures within the industry.

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The Company continuously faces reimbursement pressure from PBM companies, health maintenance organizations, managed care organizations and other commercial third-party payers; agreements with these payers are regularly subject to expiration, termination or renegotiation. In addition, plan changes with rate adjustments often occur in January and the Company’s reimbursement arrangements may provide for rate adjustments at prescribed intervals during their term. The Company experienced lower reimbursement rates in fiscal 2018 as compared to the same period in the prior year. The Company expects these pressures to continue.

The Company has also worked to develop and expand its relationships with commercial third-party payers to enable new and/or improved market access via participation in pharmacy provider networks they offer. The prescription volume impact of new agreements and relationships typically is incremental over time.

The Company’s 90-day at retail prescription drug offering is typically at a lower margin than comparable 30-day prescriptions, but provides the Company with the opportunity to increase business with patients with chronic prescription needs while offering increased convenience, helping facilitate improved prescription adherence and resulting in a lower cost to fill the 90-day prescription.

Retail Pharmacy International
The Retail Pharmacy International division (excluding equity method investments) has pharmacy-led health and beauty retail businesses in eight countries, each focused on helping people look and feel their best. The Company operated 4,767 retail stores in the division as of August 31, 2018 (see properties in part I, item 2 below for information regarding geographic coverage) and has grown its online presence significantly in recent years. The Company’s principal retail pharmacy brands are Boots in the United Kingdom, Thailand, Norway, the Republic of Ireland and The Netherlands, Benavides in Mexico and Ahumada in Chile. In Europe, the Company is a market leader and its retail stores are conveniently located and its pharmacists are well placed to provide a significant role in the provision of healthcare services, working closely with other primary healthcare providers in the communities the Company serves.

The Boots omni-channel offering is differentiated from that of competitors due to the product brands the Company owns, such as No7, Boots Pharmaceuticals, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle, Sleek MakeUp, Botanics and ‘only at Boots’ exclusive products, together with its long established reputation for trust and customer care. The Company’s brands portfolio is enhanced by its in-house product research and development capabilities.

The Company’s retail store networks are typically complemented by online platforms. In the United Kingdom, through the boots.com website and integrated mobile application, the ‘order and collect’ service allows customers to order from a range of over 33,000 products by 8:00 p.m. and collect from noon the following day from approximately 99% of the United Kingdom’s retail stores as of August 31, 2018.

The Boots Advantage Card loyalty program, where customers earn points on purchases for redemption at a later date, continues to be a key element of the Boots offering. As of August 31, 2018, the number of active Boots Advantage Card members totaled approximately 15 million. For this purpose, an active member is defined as someone who has used their card in the last six months.

In addition, Boots in the United Kingdom is one of the leaders in the optical market with 618 practices, of which 167 operated on a franchise basis as of August 31, 2018. Approximately 30% of these optical practices are located in Boots stores with the balance being standalone optical practices.

The components of the division’s sales are Pharmacy (typically the sale of prescription drugs and provision of pharmacy-related services, subject to variation in particular jurisdictions depending upon regulatory and other factors) and Retail (primarily the sale of health and beauty products including beauty, toiletries and lifestyle merchandising, non-prescription drugs and, in the United Kingdom, the provision of optical services).


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The division’s sales are subject to the influence of seasonality, with the second fiscal quarter typically the strongest as a result of the winter holiday period. This seasonality affects the division’s proportion of sales between Retail and Pharmacy during certain periods. The components of the division’s fiscal year sales were as follows:
 
 
Fiscal 2018
 
Fiscal 2017
 
Fiscal 2016
Pharmacy
 
35
%
 
35
%
 
35
%
Retail
 
65
%
 
65
%
 
65
%
Total
 
100
%
 
100
%
 
100
%

The division’s Retail sales, gross profit margin and gross profit dollars are impacted by, among other things, the highly competitive nature of the health and beauty category, specifically the Company and its competitors’ pricing actions, promotional offers and events and the customer’s desire for value and convenience.

The division’s Pharmacy sales, gross margin and gross profit dollars are impacted by governmental agencies and other third-party payers seeking to minimize increases in the costs of healthcare, including pharmaceutical drug reimbursement rates. In the United Kingdom, which is the division’s largest market for Pharmacy sales, the amount of government funding available for pharmacy services is typically reviewed and agreed with the pharmacy industry on an annual basis.

In addition, performance as measured in U.S. dollars is impacted by the exchange rates used to translate these amounts into U.S. dollars, the exchange rate of British pound sterling being the most significant.

Pharmaceutical Wholesale
The Pharmaceutical Wholesale division (excluding equity method investments), which mainly operates under the Alliance Healthcare brand, supplies medicines, other healthcare products and related services to more than 110,000 pharmacies, doctors, health centers and hospitals each year from 291 distribution centers in 11 countries, primarily in Europe, as of August 31, 2018.

The distribution of prescription medicines to pharmacists comprises the vast majority of the division’s sales. The wholesale businesses seek to provide high core service levels to pharmacists in terms of frequency of delivery, product availability, delivery accuracy, timeliness and reliability at competitive prices. The Company also offers customers innovative added-value services to help pharmacists develop their own businesses. This includes membership of Alphega Pharmacy, the Company’s pan-European network for independent pharmacies, which, as of August 31, 2018, had over 6,600 members.

In addition to the wholesale of medicines and other healthcare products, the division’s businesses provide services to pharmaceutical manufacturers which are increasingly seeking to gain greater control over their product distribution, while at the same time outsourcing non-core activities. These services include pre-wholesale and contract logistics (mainly under the Alloga brand), direct deliveries to pharmacies and innovative and specialized healthcare services, covering clinical homecare, medicine support, dispensing services, medicine preparation and clinical trial support (mainly under the Alcura brand).

Combined with local engagement, scale is important in pharmaceutical wholesaling. Walgreens Boots Alliance is one of the largest pharmaceutical wholesalers and distributors in Europe, and it ranks as one of the top three in market share in many of the individual countries in which it operates.

The division’s sales, gross profit margin and gross profit dollars are impacted by, among other things, government actions, which typically seek to reduce the growth in prescription drug consumption, reduce reimbursement rates and increase generic drug utilization. A greater proportion of generic drugs, whether as a result of government actions, generic conversions or other factors, typically has an adverse effect on the Company’s revenues. However, in the wholesale division, the Company typically earns equal or better gross margins on generic drugs than on branded drugs, although there are exceptions.

Changes in manufacturers’ product distribution business models can also impact the division’s sales and gross margin. For example, when pharmaceutical drug manufacturers introduce fee-for-service contracts, the Company’s sales are reduced even if it is successful in winning these contracts, as the Company only recognizes sales for the amount of the fees charged. Other manufacturer services, including pre-wholesale and contract logistics operations, are typically on a fee-for-service basis.

In addition, performance as measured in U.S. dollars is impacted by the exchange rates used to translate these amounts into U.S. dollars, the exchange rate of British pound sterling and the Euro being the most significant. The division’s sales are subject to less seasonality than the Company’s other divisions.

Intellectual property and licenses

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The Company markets products and services under various trademarks, trade dress and trade names and relies on a combination of patent, copyright, trademark, service mark and trade secret laws, as well as contractual restrictions to establish and protect its proprietary rights. The Company owns numerous domain names, holds numerous patents, has registered numerous trademarks and has filed applications for the registration of a number of other trademarks and service marks in various jurisdictions. The Company holds assorted business licenses (such as pharmacy, occupational, liquor and cigarette) having various lives within multiple legal jurisdictions, which are necessary for the normal operation of the business.

Seasonal variations in business
The Walgreens Boots Alliance business is affected by a number of factors including, among others, its sales performance during holiday periods (including particularly the winter holiday season) and during the cough, cold and flu season (the timing and severity of which is difficult to predict), significant weather conditions, the timing of its own or competitor discount programs and pricing actions and the timing of changes in levels of reimbursement from governmental agencies and other third-party payers. See the summary of quarterly results (unaudited) in note 18, supplementary financial information, to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in part II, item 8 below.

Sources and availability of raw materials
Inventories are purchased from numerous domestic and foreign suppliers. The Company does not believe that the loss of any one supplier or group of suppliers under common control would have a material adverse effect on its business or that of any of its divisions.

Working capital practices
Effective inventory management is important to the Company’s operations. The Company uses various inventory management techniques, including demand forecasting and planning and various forms of replenishment management. Its working capital needs typically are greater in the months leading up to the winter holiday season. The Company generally finances its inventory and expansion needs with internally-generated funds and short-term debt. For additional information, see the liquidity and capital resources section in management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations in part II, item 7, below.

Customers
The Company sells to numerous retail and wholesale customers. No single customer accounted for more than 10% of the Company’s consolidated sales for any of the periods presented. In fiscal 2018, substantially all of our retail pharmacy sales were to customers covered by third-party payers (e.g., pharmacy benefit managers, insurance companies and governmental agencies) that agree to pay for all or a portion of a customer's eligible prescription purchases. Three third-party payers, in the Retail Pharmacy USA division, in the aggregate accounted for approximately 32% of the Company’s consolidated sales in fiscal 2018.

See note 16, segment reporting, to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

Regulation
In the countries in which the Company does business, the Company is subject to national, state and local laws, regulations and administrative practices concerning retail and wholesale pharmacy operations, including regulations relating to the Company’s participation in Medicare, Medicaid and other publicly financed health benefit plans; regulations prohibiting kickbacks, beneficiary inducement and the submission of false claims; the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”); the ACA; licensure and registration requirements concerning the operation of pharmacies and the practice of pharmacy; and regulations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, as well as regulations promulgated by comparable foreign, state and local governmental authorities concerning the operation of the Company’s businesses. The Company is also subject to laws and regulations relating to licensing, tax, foreign trade, intellectual property, privacy and data protection, currency, political and other business restrictions.

The Company is also governed by national, state and local laws of general applicability in the countries in which it does business, including laws regulating matters of working conditions, health and safety and equal employment opportunity. In connection with the operation of its businesses, the Company is subject to laws and regulations relating to the protection of the environment and health and safety matters, including those governing exposure to, and the management and disposal of, hazardous substances. Environmental protection requirements did not have a material effect on the results of operations or capital expenditures of the Company in fiscal 2018.

Competitive conditions

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The industries in which the Company operates are highly competitive. As a leader in the retail pharmacy industry and as a retailer of general merchandise, the Company competes with various local, regional, national and global retailers, including chain and independent pharmacies, mail order prescription providers, grocery stores, convenience stores, mass merchants, online and omni-channel pharmacies and retailers, warehouse clubs, dollar stores and other discount merchandisers. The Company’s pharmaceutical wholesale businesses compete with other pharmaceutical wholesalers as well as alternative supply sources such as importers and manufacturers who supply directly to pharmacies. The Company competes primarily on the basis of service, convenience, variety and price. Its geographic dispersion helps mitigate the impact of temporary, localized economic and competitive conditions in individual markets. See “properties” in part I, item 2, below for further information regarding the Company’s geographic dispersion.

Employees
As of August 31, 2018, the Company employed approximately 354,000 persons, approximately 110,000 of whom were part-time employees working less than 30 hours per week. The foregoing does not include employees of equity method investments.
 
Research and development
While the global brands portfolio of the Company is enhanced by in-house product research and development capabilities, the amount spent by the Company on research and development activities is not material.

Financial information about foreign and domestic operations and export sales
Certain financial information relating to foreign and domestic operations, including total revenues and long-lived assets aggregated by our U.S. and non-U.S. operations, is included in note 16, segment reporting, to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in part II, item 8 below, which information is incorporated herein by reference. See “risk factors” in part I, item 1A below for information regarding risks attendant to the Company’s foreign operations.

Available information
The Company files with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) its Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and any amendments to those reports, as well as proxy statements and registration statements. You may read and copy any material filed by the Company with the SEC at the SEC’s Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20549. You may also obtain information on the operation of the Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. In addition, the SEC maintains a website at http://www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers, including the Company, that file electronically. The Company makes available free of charge on or through its website at
http://investor.walgreensbootsalliance.com its Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to these reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act as soon as reasonably practicable after the Company files or furnishes them to the SEC. The contents of the website are not, however, a part of this Form 10-K or the Company’s other SEC filings.

Item 1A.  Risk factors
In addition to the other information in this report and our other filings with the SEC, you should carefully consider the risks described below, which could materially and adversely affect our business operations, financial condition and results of operations. These risks are not the only risks that we face. Our business operations could also be affected by additional factors that are not presently known to us or that we currently consider to be immaterial.

Reductions in third-party reimbursement levels, from private or governmental agency plans, and potential changes in industry pricing benchmarks for prescription drugs could materially and adversely affect our results of operations.

The substantial majority of the prescriptions we fill are reimbursed by third-party payers, including private and governmental agency payers. The continued efforts of health maintenance organizations, managed care organizations, PBM companies, governmental agencies, and other third-party payers to reduce prescription drug costs and pharmacy reimbursement rates, as well as litigation and other legal proceedings relating to how drugs are priced, may adversely impact our results of operations. In the United States, plan changes with rate adjustments often occur in January and our reimbursement arrangements may provide for rate adjustments at prescribed intervals during their term. In addition, in an environment where some PBM clients utilize narrow or restricted pharmacy provider networks, some of these entities may offer pricing terms that we may not be willing to accept or otherwise restrict our participation in their networks of pharmacy providers.

Changes in political, economic and regulatory influences also may significantly affect healthcare financing and prescription drug reimbursement practices. In the United States, for example, there have been multiple attempts through executive action, legislative action and legal challenges to modify or repeal the ACA. We cannot predict whether current or future efforts to modify or repeal these laws will be successful, nor can we predict the impact that such a modification or repeal and any

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subsequent legislation would have on our business and reimbursement levels. There have also been a number of other proposals and enactments by the federal government and various states to reduce Medicare Part D and Medicaid reimbursement levels in response to budget deficits, and we expect additional proposals in the future. In the event that a third-party payer’s budgetary or financial condition deteriorates, they may not be able to pay timely, or may delay payment of, amounts owed to us. There can be no assurance that recent or future changes in prescription drug reimbursement policies and practices will not materially and adversely affect our results of operations. In many countries where we have operations, the government provides or subsidizes healthcare to consumers and regulates pharmaceutical prices, patient eligibility and reimbursement levels to control costs for the government-sponsored healthcare system. Efforts to control healthcare costs, including prescription drug costs, are continuous and reductions in third-party reimbursement levels could materially and adversely affect our results of operations.

In addition, many payers in the United States are increasingly considering new metrics as the basis for reimbursement rates. It is possible that the pharmaceutical industry or regulators may evaluate and/or develop an alternative pricing reference to replace average wholesale price, which is the pricing reference used for many of our contracts. In addition, many state Medicaid fee-for-service programs have established pharmacy network payments on the basis of actual acquisition cost, which could have an impact on reimbursement practices in other commercial and governmental arrangements. Future changes to the pricing benchmarks used to establish pharmaceutical pricing, including changes in the basis for calculating reimbursement by third-party payers, could adversely affect us.

A shift in pharmacy mix toward lower margin plans and programs could adversely affect our results of operations.

Our Retail Pharmacy USA division seeks to grow prescription volume while operating in a marketplace with continuous reimbursement pressure. A shift in the mix of pharmacy prescription volume towards programs offering lower reimbursement rates could adversely affect our results of operations. For example, our Retail Pharmacy USA division has experienced a shift in pharmacy mix towards 90-day at retail in recent years. Our 90-day at retail offering for patients with chronic prescription needs typically is at a lower margin than comparable 30-day prescriptions. Our Retail Pharmacy USA division also has experienced a shift in pharmacy mix towards Medicare Part D prescriptions in recent years, and that trend may continue. Preferred Medicare Part D networks have increased in number in recent years; however, we do not participate in all such networks. We have accepted lower reimbursement rates in order to secure preferred relationships with Medicare Part D plans serving senior patients with significant pharmacy needs. We also have worked to develop and expand our relationships with commercial third-party payers to enable new and/or improved market access via participation in the pharmacy provider networks they offer. If we are not able to generate additional prescription volume and other business from patients participating in these programs that is sufficient to offset the impact of lower reimbursement, or if the degree or terms of our participation in such preferred networks declines from current levels in future years, our results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

We derive a significant portion of our sales in the United States from prescription drug sales reimbursed by a limited number of pharmacy benefit management companies.

We derive a significant portion of our sales in the United States from prescription drug sales reimbursed through prescription drug plans administered by a limited number of PBM companies. PBM companies typically administer multiple prescription drug plans that expire at various times and provide for varying reimbursement rates, and often limit coverage to specific drug products on an approved list, known as a formulary, which might not include all of the approved drugs for a particular indication. There can be no assurance that we will continue to participate in any particular PBM company’s pharmacy provider network in any particular future time period. If our participation in the pharmacy provider network for a prescription drug plan administered by one or more of the large PBM companies is restricted or terminated, we expect that our sales would be adversely affected, at least in the short-term. If we are unable to replace any such lost sales, either through an increase in other sales or through a resumption of participation in those plans, our operating results could be materially and adversely affected. If we exit a pharmacy provider network and later resume participation, there can be no assurance that we will achieve any particular level of business on any particular pace, or that all clients of the PBM company will choose to include us again in the pharmacy network for their plans, initially or at all. In addition, in such circumstances we may incur increased marketing and other costs in connection with initiatives to regain former patients and attract new patients covered by such plans.

We could be adversely affected by a decrease in the introduction of new brand name and generic prescription drugs as well as increases in the cost to procure prescription drugs.

The profitability of our pharmacy businesses depends upon the utilization of prescription drugs. Utilization trends are affected by, among other factors, the introduction of new and successful prescription drugs as well as lower-priced generic alternatives to existing brand name drugs. Inflation in the price of drugs also can adversely affect utilization, particularly given the increased prevalence of high-deductible health insurance plans and related plan design changes. New brand name drugs can

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result in increased drug utilization and associated sales, while the introduction of lower priced generic alternatives typically results in relatively lower sales, but relatively higher gross profit margins. Accordingly, a decrease in the number or magnitude of significant new brand name drugs or generics successfully introduced, delays in their introduction, or a decrease in the utilization of previously introduced prescription drugs, could materially and adversely affect our results of operations.

In addition, if we experience an increase in the amounts we pay to procure pharmaceutical drugs, including generic drugs, it could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. Our gross profit margins would be adversely affected to the extent we are not able to offset such cost increases. Any failure to fully offset any such increased prices and costs or to modify our activities to mitigate the impact could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. Additionally, any future changes in drug prices could be significantly different than our expectations.

Consolidation and strategic alliances in the healthcare industry could adversely affect our business operations, competitive positioning, financial condition and results of operations.

Many organizations in the healthcare industry, including PBM companies, have consolidated in recent years to create larger healthcare enterprises with greater bargaining power, which has resulted in greater pricing pressures. If this consolidation trend continues, it could give the resulting enterprises even greater bargaining power, which may lead to further pressure on the prices for our products and services. If these pressures result in reductions in our prices, our businesses would become less profitable unless we are able to achieve corresponding reductions in costs or develop profitable new revenue streams.

New and proposed acquisitions, partnerships and strategic alliances in the healthcare industry also can alter market dynamics and impact our businesses and competitive positioning. For example, in December 2017, CVS Health Corporation, an integrated pharmacy health care company that operates one of the largest retail drugstore chains and PBM companies in the United States, announced an agreement to acquire Aetna, Inc., one of the largest diversified health care benefits companies, subject to certain closing conditions. Changes in the participants in global sourcing enterprises relating to drug procurement, whether as a result of mergers, acquisitions or other transactions, can also have a similar effect on market dynamics and our business. In addition, further consolidation among generic drug manufacturers could lead to generic drug inflation in the future. We expect that market demand, government regulation, third-party reimbursement policies, government contracting requirements, and other pressures will continue to cause the healthcare industry to evolve, potentially resulting in further business consolidations and alliances and increased vertical integration among the industry participants we engage with, and which could, if we are not able to successfully anticipate and respond to evolving industry conditions in a timely and effective manner, materially and adversely impact our business operations, financial condition and results of operations.

Our growth strategy is partially dependent upon our ability to identify and successfully complete acquisitions, joint ventures and other strategic alliances.

A significant element of our growth strategy is to identify, pursue and successfully complete acquisitions, joint ventures and other strategic alliances that either expand or complement our existing operations. We have grown significantly through acquisitions in recent years and expect to continue to acquire, partner with or invest in businesses that build on or are deemed complementary to our existing businesses or further our strategic objectives. Due in part to consolidation in the industries in which we compete, there is significant competition for attractive targets and opportunities when available. There can be no assurance that attractive acquisition or other strategic relationship opportunities will be available, that we will be successful in identifying, negotiating and consummating favorable transaction opportunities, or that any such transactions we complete will be successful and justify our investment of financial and other resources therein.

Acquisitions and other strategic transactions involve numerous risks, including difficulties in successfully integrating the operations and personnel, distraction of management from overseeing, and disruption of, our existing operations, difficulties in entering markets or lines of business in which we have no or limited direct prior experience, the possible loss of key employees and customers, and difficulties in achieving the synergies we anticipated. Any failure to select suitable opportunities at fair prices, conduct appropriate due diligence and successfully integrate the acquired company, including particularly when acquired businesses operate in new geographic markets or areas of business, could materially and adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations. These transactions may also cause us to significantly increase our interest expense, leverage and debt service requirements if we incur additional debt to pay for an acquisition or investment, issue common stock that would dilute our current stockholders’ percentage ownership, or incur asset write-offs and restructuring costs and other related expenses that could have a material adverse impact on our operating results. Acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic investments also involve numerous other risks, including potential exposure to assumed litigation and unknown environmental and other liabilities, as well as undetected internal control, regulatory or other issues, or additional costs not anticipated at the time the transaction was completed. No assurance can be given that our acquisitions, joint ventures and other strategic alliances will be successful and will not materially adversely affect our business operations, financial condition or

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results of operations. If we are unable to successfully identify, complete and integrate acquisitions, joint ventures and strategic investments in a timely and effective manner, our business operations and growth strategies could be negatively affected.

Our strategic relationships include outsourcing and similar relationships. We outsource certain business and administrative functions and rely on third parties to perform certain services on our behalf. For example, in 2017 we entered into a 10-year global agreement with Fareva for the manufacture and supply of own beauty brands and private label products. Under the terms of the agreement, Fareva acquired BCM, Walgreens Boots Alliance’s contract manufacturing business, in October 2017. We rely on these third parties to meet our quality and performance requirements and to timely perform as expected. We periodically negotiate provisions and renewals of these relationships, and there can be no assurance that such terms will remain acceptable to us or such third parties. If our continuing relationship with certain third-party providers is interrupted, or if such third-party providers experience disruptions or do not perform as anticipated, or we experience problems with any transition, we may experience operational difficulties, reputational harm, and increased costs that could materially and adversely affect our business operations and results of operations.

We may not realize the anticipated benefits of the acquisition of assets from Rite Aid pursuant to the Amended and Restated Asset Purchase Agreement, which could adversely impact our results of operations.

We entered into the Amended and Restated Asset Purchase Agreement to acquire certain Rite Aid stores and distribution centers with the expectation that the transaction will result in various benefits, including, among other things, cost savings and operating efficiencies. The achievement of the anticipated benefits of the transaction is subject to a number of uncertainties, including completion of the pending acquisition of distribution centers and related inventory expected to begin during fiscal 2019, whether the acquired assets can be integrated into our business in an efficient and effective manner, the possibility of faulty assumptions underlying expectations regarding potential synergies and the integration process, unforeseen expenses or delays, and competitive factors in the marketplace. We can provide no assurance that the anticipated benefits of the transaction, including cost savings and synergies, will be fully realized in the time frame anticipated or at all; the costs or difficulties related to the integration of the acquired assets into our business and operations will not be greater than expected; unanticipated costs, charges and expenses will not result from the transaction; litigation relating to the transaction will not be filed; and the transaction will not cause disruption to the parties’ business and operations and relationships with employees and suppliers, payers, customers and other third parties. If one or more of these risks are realized, it could have a material adverse impact on our operating results.

We could also encounter unforeseen transaction and integration-related costs or other circumstances, such as unforeseen liabilities or other issues resulting from the transaction. Many of these potential circumstances are outside of our control and any of them could result in increased costs, decreased revenue, decreased synergies and the diversion of management time and attention, which could adversely impact our agility to respond to market opportunities and our ability to timely identify and implement other strategic actions. If we are unable to achieve our objectives within the anticipated time frame, or at all, the expected benefits may not be realized fully or at all, or may take longer to realize than expected, which could have a material adverse impact on our business operations, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, we have incurred significant transaction costs related to the transaction and expect to continue to incur significant integration and related costs as we integrate the acquired Rite Aid assets. These integration and acquisition-related costs, including legal, accounting, financial and tax advisory and other fees and costs, may be higher than expected and some of these costs may be material.

Our business results depend on our ability to successfully manage ongoing organizational change and business transformation and achieve cost savings and operating efficiency initiatives.

Our Board of Directors approved the plan to implement the Store Optimization Program described in management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations in part II, item 7 below as part of an initiative to reduce costs and increase operating efficiencies. There can be no assurance that we will realize, in full or in part, the anticipated benefits of this program. Our financial goals assume a level of productivity improvement, including those reflected in the Store Optimization Program and other business optimization initiatives. If we are unable to deliver these expected productivity improvements, while continuing to invest in business growth, or if the volume and nature of change overwhelms available resources, our business operations and financial results could be materially and adversely impacted. Our ability to successfully manage and execute these initiatives and realize expected savings and benefits in the amounts and at the times anticipated is important to our business success. Any failure to do so, which could result from our inability to successfully execute organizational change and business transformation plans, changes in global or regional economic conditions, competition, changes in the industries in which we compete, unanticipated costs or charges, loss of key personnel and other factors described herein, could have a material adverse effect on our businesses, financial condition and results of operations.


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The industries in which we operate are highly competitive and constantly evolving. New entrants to the market, existing competitor actions or other changes in market dynamics could adversely impact us.

The level of competition in the retail pharmacy and pharmaceutical wholesale industries is high. Changes in market dynamics or actions of competitors or manufacturers, including industry consolidation and the emergence of new competitors and strategic alliances, could materially and adversely impact us. Disruptive innovation, or the perception of potentially disruptive innovation, by existing or new competitors could alter the competitive landscape in the future and require us to accurately identify and assess such changes and if required make timely and effective changes to our strategies and business model to compete effectively. For example, in June 2018, online retailer Amazon.com, Inc. announced its pending acquisition of PillPack, an online pharmacy with licenses throughout the United States, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Some industry analysts have speculated that the acquisition, if completed, could provide a platform for Amazon to significantly expand into the market for prescription drugs. Our retail pharmacy businesses face intense competition from local, regional, national and global companies, including other drugstore and pharmacy chains, independent drugstores and pharmacies, mail-order pharmacies and various other retailers such as grocery stores, convenience stores, mass merchants, online and omni-channel pharmacies and retailers, warehouse clubs, dollar stores and other discount merchandisers, some of which are aggressively expanding in markets we serve. Businesses in our Pharmaceutical Wholesale division face intense competition from direct competitors, including national and regional cooperative wholesalers, and alternative supply sources such as importers and manufacturers who supply directly to pharmacies. Competition may also come from other sources in the future. As competition increases in the markets in which we operate, a significant increase in general pricing pressures could occur, which could require us to reevaluate our pricing structures to remain competitive. For example, if we are not able to anticipate and successfully respond to changes in market conditions in our Pharmaceutical Wholesale division, including changes driven by competitors, suppliers or manufacturers and increased competition from national and regional cooperative wholesalers, it could result in a loss of customers or renewal of contracts or arrangements on less favorable terms.

We also could be adversely affected if we fail to identify or effectively respond to changes in market dynamics. As technology, consumer behavior and market conditions continue to evolve in the United States, it is important that we maintain the relevance of our brand and product and service offerings to customers and patients. In April 2018, we announced that we are testing a number of concepts and initiatives designed to position our stores in the United States as convenient community hubs for healthcare and retail products and services. The concepts being tested include new approaches to pricing and promotions, product selection, in-store and digital experience, and strategic partnerships that bring new products and services to our customers. We plan to use these pilots to listen to customers, learn and adjust based on feedback, with decisions on the nature and extent of further roll-outs made over time as we gain experience. If our customers are not receptive to these changes, if we are unable to expand successful programs in a timely manner, or we otherwise do not effectively respond to changes in market dynamics, our businesses and financial performance could be materially and adversely affected. As a further example, specialty pharmacy represents a significant and growing proportion of prescription drug spending in the United States, a significant portion of which is dispensed outside of traditional retail pharmacies. Because our specialty pharmacy business focuses on complex and high-cost medications, many of which are made available by manufacturers to a limited number of pharmacies (so-called limited distribution drugs), that serve a relatively limited universe of patients, the future growth of this business depends to a significant extent upon expanding our ability to access key drugs and successfully penetrate key treatment categories. Accordingly, it is important that we and our affiliates compete effectively in this evolving market, or our business operations, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. To better serve this evolving market, in March 2017, we and Prime Therapeutics LLC, a PBM, closed a transaction to form a combined central specialty pharmacy and mail services company, AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, using an innovative model that seeks to align pharmacy, PBM and health plans to coordinate patient care, improve health outcomes and deliver cost of care opportunities. If this joint venture is not able to compete effectively in this evolving market and successfully adapt to changing market conditions, our business operations, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

Our substantial international business operations subject us to a number of operating, economic, political, regulatory and other international business risks.

Our substantial international business operations are important to our growth and prospects, including particularly those of our Retail Pharmacy International and Pharmaceutical Wholesale divisions, and are subject to a number of risks, including:

compliance with a wide variety of foreign laws and regulations, including retail and wholesale pharmacy, licensing, tax, foreign trade, intellectual property, privacy and data protection, immigration, currency, political and other business restrictions and requirements and local laws and regulations, whose interpretation and enforcement vary significantly among jurisdictions and can change significantly over time;


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additional U.S. and other regulation of non-domestic operations, including regulation under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the U.K. Bribery Act and other anti-corruption laws;

potential difficulties in managing foreign operations, mitigating credit risks in foreign markets, enforcing agreements and collecting receivables through foreign legal systems;

price controls imposed by foreign countries;

tariffs, duties or other restrictions on foreign currencies or trade sanctions and other trade barriers imposed by foreign countries that restrict or prohibit business transactions in certain markets;

potential adverse tax consequences, including tax withholding laws and policies and restrictions on repatriation of funds to the United States;

fluctuations in currency exchange rates;

impact of recessions and economic slowdowns in economies outside the United States, including foreign currency devaluation, higher interest rates, inflation, and increased government regulation or ownership of traditional private businesses;

the instability of foreign economies, governments and currencies and unexpected regulatory, economic or political changes in foreign markets; and

developing and emerging markets may be especially vulnerable to periods of instability and unexpected changes, and consumers in those markets may have relatively limited resources to spend on products and services.

These factors can also adversely affect our payers, vendors and customers in international markets, which in turn can negatively impact our businesses. We cannot assure you that one or more of these factors will not have a material adverse effect on our business operations, results of operation and financial condition.

Many of these factors are subject to change based on changes in political, economic and regulatory influences. For example:

Our Retail Pharmacy International and Pharmaceutical Wholesale divisions have substantial operations in the United Kingdom and other member countries of the European Union. In June 2016, voters in the United Kingdom approved an advisory referendum to withdraw from the European Union, which proposed exit (and the political, economic and other uncertainties it has raised) has exacerbated and may further exacerbate many of the risks and uncertainties described above. Subsequently, in March 2017, the United Kingdom’s government invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, which formally triggered the two-year negotiation process to exit the European Union. Negotiations to determine the United Kingdom’s future relationship with the European Union, including terms of trade, are complex, and there can be no assurance regarding the terms, timing or consummation of any such arrangements. The proposed withdrawal could, among other potential outcomes, adversely affect the tax, tax treaty, currency, operational, legal and regulatory regimes to which our businesses in the region are subject. The withdrawal could also, among other potential outcomes, disrupt the free movement of goods, services and people between the United Kingdom and the European Union and significantly disrupt trade between the United Kingdom and the European Union and other parties. Further, uncertainty around and developments regarding these and related issues could adversely impact consumer and investor confidence and the economy of the United Kingdom and the economies of other countries in which we operate and cause significant volatility in currency exchange rates.

Many of the products we sell are manufactured in whole or in part outside of the United States. In some cases, these products are imported by others and sold to us. In the United States, the Presidential Administration has discussed, and in some cases implemented, changes with respect to certain tax and trade policies, tariffs and other government regulations affecting trade between the United States and other countries. For example, there are growing concerns regarding trade relations between the United States and China, as both countries recently indicated their intention to impose significant tariffs on the importation of certain product categories. As a significant portion of our retail products are sourced from China, the imposition on the United States of new tariffs on certain goods imported from China could adversely impact the cost and profitability of retail product sales in our Retail Pharmacy USA division. While it is not possible to predict whether or when any future changes will occur or what form they may take, significant changes in tax or trade policies, tariffs or trade relations between the United States and other countries could result in significant increases in our costs, restrict our access to certain suppliers and adversely impact economic

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activity. In addition, other countries may change their business and trade policies in anticipation of or in response to increased import tariffs and other changes in United States trade policy and regulations.
 
There can be no assurance that any or all of these developments will not have a material adverse effect on our business operations, results of operations and financial condition.

We are exposed to risks associated with foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations.

Our significant operations outside of the United States expose us to currency exchange rate fluctuations and related risks, including transaction currency exposures relating to the import and export of goods in currencies other than businesses’ functional currencies as well as currency translation exposures relating to profits and net assets denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. We present our financial statements in U.S. dollars and have a significant proportion of net assets and income in non-U.S. dollar currencies, primarily the British pound sterling and the Euro, as well as a range of other foreign currencies. Our results of operations and capital ratios can therefore be sensitive to movements in foreign exchange rates. Due to the constantly changing currency exposures to which we are subject and the volatility of currency exchange rates, we cannot predict the effect of exchange rate fluctuations upon our future results of operations. In addition, fluctuations in currencies relative to the U.S. dollar may make it more difficult to perform period-to-period comparisons of our reported results of operations. A depreciation of non-U.S. dollar currencies relative to the U.S. dollar could have a significant adverse impact on our results of operations.

We may from time to time, in some instances, enter into foreign currency contracts or other derivative instruments intended to hedge a portion of our foreign currency fluctuation risks, which subjects us to additional risks, such as the risk that counterparties may fail to honor their obligations to us, that could materially and adversely affect us. Additionally, we may (and currently do) use foreign currency debt to hedge some of our foreign currency fluctuation risks. The periodic use of such hedging activities may not offset any or more than a portion of the adverse financial effects of unfavorable movements in foreign exchange rates over the limited time the hedges are in place. We cannot assure you that fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, including particularly the strengthening of the U.S. dollar against major currencies or the currencies of large developing countries, will not materially affect our consolidated financial results.

Disruption in our global supply chain could negatively impact our businesses.

The products we sell are sourced from a wide variety of domestic and international vendors, and any future disruption in our supply chain or inability to find qualified vendors and access products that meet requisite quality and safety standards in a timely and efficient manner could adversely impact our businesses. The loss or disruption of such supply arrangements for any reason, including for issues such as labor disputes, loss or impairment of key manufacturing sites, inability to procure sufficient raw materials, quality control issues, ethical sourcing issues, a supplier’s financial distress, natural disasters, civil unrest or acts of war or terrorism, trade sanctions or other external factors over which we have no control, could interrupt product supply and, if not effectively managed and remedied, have a material adverse impact on our business operations, financial condition and results of operations.

We use a single wholesaler of branded and generic pharmaceutical drugs as our primary source of such products for our Retail Pharmacy USA division.

In March 2013, Walgreens, Alliance Boots and AmerisourceBergen announced various agreements and arrangements, including a ten-year pharmaceutical distribution agreement between Walgreens and AmerisourceBergen pursuant to which we source branded and generic pharmaceutical products from AmerisourceBergen in the U.S. and an agreement which provides AmerisourceBergen the ability to access generics pharmaceutical products through our global sourcing enterprise. In May 2016, certain of these agreements were extended for three years to now expire in 2026. In addition, in March 2013, Walgreens, Alliance Boots and AmerisourceBergen entered into agreements and arrangements pursuant to which we have the right, but not the obligation, to purchase a minority equity position in AmerisourceBergen and gain associated representation on AmerisourceBergen’s board of directors in certain circumstances. As of the date of this report, AmerisourceBergen distributes for our Retail Pharmacy USA division substantially all branded and generic pharmaceutical products. Consequently, our business in the United States may be adversely affected by any operational, financial or regulatory difficulties that AmerisourceBergen experiences. For example, if AmerisourceBergen’s operations are seriously disrupted for any reason, whether due to a natural disaster, labor disruption, regulatory action, computer or operational systems or otherwise, it could adversely affect our business in the United States and our results of operations.

Our distribution agreement with AmerisourceBergen is subject to early termination in certain circumstances and, upon the expiration or termination of the agreement, there can be no assurance that we or AmerisourceBergen will be willing to renew

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the agreement or enter into a new agreement, on terms favorable to us or at all. If such expiration or termination occurred, we believe that alternative sources of supply for most generic and brand-name pharmaceuticals are readily available and that we could obtain and qualify alternative sources, which may include self-distribution in some cases, for substantially all of the prescription drugs we sell on an acceptable basis, such that the impact of any such expiration or termination would be temporary. However, there can be no assurance we would be able to engage alternative supply sources or implement self-distribution processes on a timely basis or on terms favorable to us, or effectively manage these transitions, any of which could adversely affect our business operations, financial condition and results of operations.

The anticipated strategic and financial benefits of our relationship with AmerisourceBergen may not be realized.

We entered into the arrangement with AmerisourceBergen with the expectation that the transactions contemplated thereby would result in various benefits including, among other things, procurement cost savings and operating efficiencies, innovation and sharing of best practices. The processes and initiatives needed to achieve these potential benefits are complex, costly and time-consuming. Achieving the anticipated benefits from the arrangement is subject to a number of significant challenges and uncertainties, including the possibility of faulty assumptions underlying expectations, processes or initiatives, or the inability to realize and/or delays in realizing potential benefits and synergies, whether unique corporate cultures of separate organizations will work collaboratively in an efficient and effective manner, unforeseen expenses or delays, and competitive factors in the marketplace.

As of August 31, 2018, we beneficially owned approximately 26% of the outstanding AmerisourceBergen common stock and had designated one member of AmerisourceBergen’s board of directors. In addition, we have the right, but not the obligation, under the transactions contemplated by the Framework Agreement dated as of March 18, 2013 by and among the Company, Alliance Boots and AmerisourceBergen (the “Framework Agreement”) to acquire up to an additional 8,398,752 AmerisourceBergen shares in the open market and thereafter designate another member of AmerisourceBergen’s board of directors, subject in each case to applicable legal and contractual requirements. There can be no assurance that we will complete any specific level of such potential equity investments in AmerisourceBergen, or that our existing investment, or any future investment if completed, will ultimately be profitable. If the price of AmerisourceBergen common stock subsequently declines substantially, we could experience a loss on or impairment of such investment, which could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. Further, our ability to transact in AmerisourceBergen securities is subject to certain restrictions set forth in our agreements with AmerisourceBergen and arising under applicable laws and regulations, which in some circumstances could adversely our ability to transact in AmerisourceBergen securities in amounts and at the times desired. We could also encounter unforeseen costs, circumstances or issues existing or arising with respect to the transactions and collaboration resulting from these agreements. Many of these potential circumstances are outside of our control and any of them could result in increased costs, decreased revenue, decreased synergies and the diversion of management time and attention. If we are unable to achieve our objectives within the anticipated time frame, or at all, the expected benefits may not be realized fully or at all, or may take longer to realize than expected, which could have a material adverse impact on our business operations, financial condition and results of operations.

From time to time, we make investments in companies over which we do not have sole control. Some of these companies may operate in sectors that differ from our current operations and have different risks.

From time to time, we make debt or equity investments in companies that we may not control or over which we may not have sole control. For example, while we have a significant equity investment in AmerisourceBergen and have a designee serving on the board of directors of AmerisourceBergen as of the date of this report, we do not have the ability to control day-to-day operations of that company. Although the businesses in which we have made noncontrolling investments often have a significant health and daily living or prescription drug component, some of them operate in businesses that are different from our primary lines of business and/or operate in different geographic markets than we do. For example, in July 2018, we acquired a 40% minority stake in Sinopharm Holding GuoDa Drugstores Co., Ltd., a leading retail pharmacy chain in China. Investments in these businesses, among other risks, subject us to the operating and financial risks of the businesses we invest in and to the risk that we do not have sole control over the operations of these businesses. We rely on the internal controls and financial reporting controls of these entities and their failure to maintain effectiveness or comply with applicable standards may materially and adversely affect us. Investments in entities over which we do not have sole control, including joint ventures and strategic alliances, present additional risks such as having differing objectives from our partners or the entities in which we are invested, becoming involved in disputes, or competing with those persons. From time to time, we may make additional investments in or acquire other entities that may subject us to similar risks.

Changes in economic conditions could adversely affect consumer buying practices.


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Our performance has been, and may continue to be, adversely impacted by changes in global, national, regional or local economic conditions and consumer confidence. These conditions can also adversely affect our key vendors and customers. External factors that affect consumer confidence and over which we exercise no influence include unemployment rates, inflation, levels of personal disposable income, levels of taxes and interest and global, national, regional or local economic conditions, as well as acts of war or terrorism. Changes in economic conditions and consumer confidence could adversely affect consumer preferences, purchasing power and spending patterns, which could lead to a decrease in overall consumer spending as well as in prescription drug and health services utilization and which could be exacerbated by the increasing prevalence of high-deductible health insurance plans and related plan design changes. In addition, reduced or flat consumer spending may drive us and our competitors to offer additional products at promotional prices. All of these factors could materially and adversely impact our business operations, financial condition and results of operations.

Economic conditions in Europe and certain emerging market countries, together with austerity measures being taken by certain governments, could adversely affect us.

We have significant assets and operations within Europe and certain emerging market countries in our Retail Pharmacy International and Pharmaceutical Wholesale divisions. An economic slowdown within any such markets could adversely affect our businesses in affected regions by reducing the prices our customers may be able or willing to pay for our products and services or by reducing the demand for our products and services, either of which could result in a material adverse impact on our results of operations. In recent years, in response to the economic environment, a number of governments, including the government in the United Kingdom, have announced or implemented austerity measures to reduce healthcare spending for the government-sponsored healthcare systems and constrain overall government expenditures. These measures, which include efforts aimed at reforming healthcare coverage and reducing healthcare costs, continue to exert pressure on the pricing of and reimbursement timelines for pharmaceutical drugs. Countries with existing austerity measures may impose additional laws, regulations, or requirements on the healthcare industry. In addition, governments that have not yet imposed austerity measures may impose them in the future. Any new austerity measures may be similar to or vary in scope and nature from existing austerity measures and could have a material adverse effect on our international business operations and results of operations.

If we do not successfully develop and maintain a relevant omni-channel experience for our customers, our businesses and results of operations could be adversely impacted.

The portion of total consumer expenditures with retailers occurring online and through mobile applications has continued to increase and the pace of this increase could accelerate in the future. Our business has evolved from an in-store experience to interaction with customers across numerous channels, including in-store, online, mobile and social media, among others. Omni-channel retailing is rapidly evolving and we must keep pace with changing customer expectations and new developments by our competitors. Our customers are increasingly using computers, tablets, mobile phones, and other devices to comparison shop, determine product availability and complete purchases, as well as to provide immediate public reactions regarding various facets of our operations. We must compete by offering a consistent and convenient shopping experience for our customers regardless of the ultimate sales channel and by investing in, providing and maintaining digital tools for our customers that have the right features and are reliable and easy to use. If we are unable to make, improve, or develop relevant customer-facing technology in a timely manner that keeps pace with technological developments and dynamic customer expectations, our ability to compete and our results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, if our online activities or our other customer-facing technology systems do not function as designed, we may experience a loss of customer confidence, data security breaches, lost sales, or be exposed to fraudulent purchases, any of which could materially and adversely affect our business operations, reputation and results of operations.

If the merchandise and services that we offer fail to meet customer needs, our sales may be adversely affected.

We could be adversely affected by changes in consumer spending levels and shopping habits and preferences, including attitudes towards our retail and product brands. The success of our retail pharmacy businesses depends on our ability to offer a superior shopping experience, engaging customer service and a quality assortment of available merchandise that differentiates us from other retailers, including enhanced health and beauty product offerings. We must identify, obtain supplies of, and offer to our customers attractive, innovative and high-quality merchandise on a continuous basis. Our products and services must satisfy the needs and desires of our customers, whose preferences may change in the future. For example, our proof of concept initiatives that seek to position our stores in the United States as convenient community hubs for healthcare and retail products and services reflect the perceived desires and needs of our target market. However, it is difficult to predict consistently and successfully the products and services our customers will demand. If we misjudge either the demand for products and services we sell or our customers’ purchasing habits and tastes, we may be faced with excess inventories of some products and missed opportunities for products and services we chose not to offer. In addition, our sales may decline or we may be required to sell the merchandise we have obtained at lower prices. Failure to timely identify or effectively respond to changing consumer

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tastes, preferences and spending patterns and evolving demographic mixes in the markets we serve could negatively affect our relationship with our customers and the demand for our products and services, which could materially and adversely impact our results of operations.

Our private brand offerings expose us to various additional risks.

In addition to brand name products, we offer our customers private brand products that are not available from other retailers. We seek to continue to grow our exclusive private brand offerings as part of our growth strategy, including through the expanded offering of No7 and other brands owned or licensed on an exclusive basis, as well as through selective acquisitions. Maintaining consistent product quality, competitive pricing, and availability of our private brand offerings for our customers, as well as the timely development and introduction of new products, is important in differentiating us from other retailers and developing and maintaining customer loyalty. Although we believe that our private brand products offer value to our customers and typically provide us with higher gross margins than comparable national brand products we sell, the expansion of our private brand offerings also subjects us to additional risks, such as potential product liability risks and mandatory or voluntary product recalls; our ability to successfully protect our proprietary rights and successfully navigate and avoid claims related to the proprietary rights of third parties; our ability to successfully administer and comply with applicable contractual obligations and regulatory requirements; and other risks generally encountered by entities that source, sell and market exclusive branded offerings for retail. An increase in sales of our private brands may also adversely affect sales of our vendors’ products, which, in turn, could adversely affect our relationship with certain of our vendors. Any failure to adequately address some or all of these risks could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, business operations, results of operations and financial condition.

We face significant competition in attracting and retaining talented employees. Further, managing succession for, and retention of, key executives is critical to our success, and our failure to do so could have an adverse impact on our future performance.
 
Our ability to attract and retain qualified and experienced employees is essential to meet current and future goals and objectives and there is no guarantee we will be able to attract and retain such employees or that competition among potential employers will not result in increased salaries or other benefits. An inability to retain existing employees or attract additional employees, or an unexpected loss of leadership, could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
 
In addition, our failure to adequately plan for succession of senior management and other key management roles or the failure of key employees to successfully transition into new roles could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. While we have succession plans in place and employment arrangements with certain key executives, these do not guarantee the services of these executives will continue to be available to us.

We may experience a significant disruption in our computer systems.

We rely extensively on our computer systems to manage our ordering, pricing, point-of-sale, pharmacy fulfillment, inventory replenishment, customer loyalty programs, finance and other processes. Our systems are subject to damage or interruption from power outages, facility damage, computer and telecommunications failures, computer viruses, security breaches including credit card or personally identifiable information breaches, vandalism, natural disasters, catastrophic events, human error and potential cyber threats, including malicious codes, worms, phishing attacks, denial of service attacks, ransomware and other sophisticated cyber attacks, and our disaster recovery planning cannot account for all eventualities. If any of our systems are damaged, fail to function properly or otherwise become unavailable, we may incur substantial costs to repair or replace them, and may experience loss or corruption of critical data and interruptions or disruptions and delays in our ability to perform critical functions, which could materially and adversely affect our businesses and results of operations. In addition, we are currently making, and expect to continue to make, substantial investments in our information technology systems and infrastructure, some of which are significant. Upgrades involve replacing existing systems with successor systems, making changes to existing systems, or cost-effectively acquiring new systems with new functionality. Implementing new systems carries significant potential risks, including failure to operate as designed, potential loss or corruption of data or information, cost overruns, implementation delays, disruption of operations, and the potential inability to meet business and reporting requirements. While we are aware of inherent risks associated with replacing these systems and believe we are taking reasonable action to mitigate known risks, there can be no assurance that we will not experience significant issues with our existing systems prior to implementation, that our technology initiatives will be successfully deployed as planned or that they will be timely implemented without significant disruption to our operations. We also could be adversely affected by any significant disruption in the systems of third parties we interact with, including key payers and vendors.


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If we or the businesses we interact with do not maintain the privacy and security of sensitive customer and business information, it could damage our reputation and we could suffer a loss of revenue, incur substantial additional costs and become subject to litigation and regulatory scrutiny.

The protection of customer, employee, and company data is critical to our businesses. Cybersecurity and other information technology security risks, such as a significant breach of customer, employee, or company data, could attract a substantial amount of media attention, damage our customer relationships and reputation, and result in lost sales, fines or lawsuits. Throughout our operations, we receive, retain and transmit certain personal information that our customers and others provide to purchase products or services, fill prescriptions, enroll in promotional programs, participate in our customer loyalty programs, register on our websites, or otherwise communicate and interact with us. In addition, aspects of our operations depend upon the secure transmission of confidential information over public networks. Like other global companies, we and businesses we interact with have experienced threats to data and systems, including by perpetrators of random or targeted malicious cyberattacks, computer viruses, worms, bot attacks or other destructive or disruptive software and attempts to misappropriate customer information, including credit card information, and cause system failures and disruptions. Although we deploy a layered approach to address information security threats and vulnerabilities designed to protect confidential information against data security breaches, a compromise of our data security systems or of those of businesses with whom we interact, which results in confidential information being accessed, obtained, damaged or used by unauthorized or improper persons, could harm our reputation and expose us to regulatory actions, customer attrition, remediation expenses, and claims from customers, financial institutions, payment card associations and other persons, any of which could materially and adversely affect our business operations, financial condition and results of operations. Because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, disable or degrade service, or sabotage systems change frequently and may not immediately produce signs of intrusion, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques or to implement adequate preventative measures. In addition, a security breach could require that we expend substantial additional resources related to the security of information systems and disrupt our businesses.

We depend on and interact with the information technology networks and systems of third-parties for many aspects of our business operations, including payers, strategic partners and cloud service providers. These third parties may have access to information we maintain about our company, operations, customers, employees and vendors, or operating systems that are critical to or can significantly impact our business operations. Like us, these third-parties are subject to risks imposed by data breaches and cyber-attacks and other events or actions that could damage, disrupt or close down their networks or systems. Security processes, protocols and standards that we have implemented and contractual provisions requiring security measures that we may have sought to impose on such third-parties may not be sufficient or effective at preventing such events, which could result in unauthorized access to, or disruptions or denials of access to, or misuse of, information or systems that are important to our business, including proprietary information, sensitive or confidential data, and other information about our operations, customers, employees and suppliers, including personal information.

The regulatory environment surrounding data security and privacy is increasingly demanding, with the frequent imposition of new and changing requirements across businesses and geographic areas. We are required to comply with increasingly complex and changing data security and privacy regulations in the United States and in other jurisdictions in which we operate that regulate the collection, use and transfer of personal data, including the transfer of personal data between or among countries. In the United States, for example, HIPAA imposes extensive privacy and security requirements governing the transmission, use and disclosure of health information by all participants in the health care industry. Some foreign data privacy regulations are more stringent than those in the United States and continue to change. For example, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which greatly increased the jurisdictional reach of European Union data protection laws and added a broad array of requirements for handling personal data, including the public disclosure of significant data breaches, and provides for greater penalties for noncompliance, became effective in May 2018. Other countries have enacted or are considering enacting data localization laws that require certain data to stay within their borders. Complying with changing regulatory requirements requires us to incur substantial costs and may require changes to our business practices in certain jurisdictions, any of which could materially and adversely affect our business operations and operating results. We may also face audits or investigations by one or more domestic or foreign government agencies relating to our compliance with these regulations. Compliance with changes in privacy and information security laws and standards may result in significant expense due to increased investment in technology and the development of new operational processes. If we or those with whom we share information fail to comply with these laws and regulations or experience a data security breach, our reputation could be damaged and we could be subject to additional litigation and regulatory risks. Our security measures may be undermined due to the actions of outside parties, employee error, malfeasance, or otherwise, and, as a result, an unauthorized party may obtain access to our data systems and misappropriate business and personal information. Any such breach or unauthorized access could result in significant legal and financial exposure, damage to our reputation, and potentially have a material adverse effect on our business operations, financial condition and results of operations.


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We are subject to payment-related risks that could increase our operating costs, expose us to fraud or theft, subject us to potential liability and potentially disrupt our business operations.

We accept payments using a variety of methods, including cash, checks, credit and debit cards, gift cards and mobile payment technologies such as Apple Pay™, and we may offer new payment options over time. Acceptance of these payment options subjects us to rules, regulations, contractual obligations and compliance requirements, including payment network rules and operating guidelines, data security standards and certification requirements, and rules governing electronic funds transfers. These requirements and related interpretations may change over time, which could make compliance more difficult or costly. For certain payment methods, including credit and debit cards, we pay interchange and other fees, which could increase over time and raise our operating costs. We rely on third parties to provide payment processing services, including the processing of credit cards, debit cards, and other forms of electronic payment. If these companies become unable to provide these services to us, or if their systems are compromised, it could disrupt our business. The payment methods that we offer also subject us to potential fraud and theft by persons who seek to obtain unauthorized access to or exploit any weaknesses that may exist in the payment systems. If we fail to comply with applicable rules or requirements, or if data is compromised due to a breach or misuse of data relating to our payment systems, we may be liable for costs incurred by payment card issuing banks and other third parties or subject to fines and higher transaction fees, or our ability to accept or facilitate certain types of payments could be impaired. In addition, our reputation could suffer and our customers could lose confidence in certain payment types, which could result in higher costs and/or reduced sales and materially and adversely affect our results of operations.

Changes in healthcare regulatory environments may adversely affect our businesses.

Political, economic and regulatory influences are subjecting the healthcare industry to significant changes that could adversely affect our results of operations. In recent years, the healthcare industry has undergone significant changes in an effort to reduce costs and government spending. These changes include an increased reliance on managed care; cuts in certain Medicare and Medicaid funding in the United States and the funding of governmental payers in foreign jurisdictions; consolidation of competitors, suppliers and other market participants; and the development of large, sophisticated purchasing groups. We expect the healthcare industry to continue to change significantly in the future. Some of these potential changes, such as a reduction in governmental funding for certain healthcare services or adverse changes in legislation or regulations governing prescription drug pricing, healthcare services or mandated benefits, may cause customers to reduce the amount of our products and services they purchase or the price they are willing to pay for our products and services. We expect continued governmental and private payer pressure to reduce pharmaceutical pricing. Changes in pharmaceutical manufacturers’ pricing or distribution policies could also significantly reduce our profitability.

In the United States, electoral results and changes in political leadership have generated uncertainty with respect to, and could result in, significant changes in legislation, regulation and government policy that could significantly impact our businesses and the health care and retail industries. There have been multiple attempts to repeal, modify or otherwise invalidate all, or certain provisions of, the ACA, which was enacted in 2010 to provide health insurance coverage to millions of previously uninsured Americans through a combination of insurance market reforms, an expansion of Medicaid, subsidies and health insurance mandates. We cannot predict whether current or future efforts to modify these laws and/or adopt new healthcare legislation will be successful, nor can we predict the impact that such a development would have on our business and operating results. Future legislation or rulemaking or other regulatory actions or developments under the ACA or otherwise could adversely impact the number of Americans with health insurance and, consequently, prescription drug coverage, increase regulation of pharmacy services, result in changes to pharmacy reimbursement rates, and otherwise change the way we do business. We cannot predict the timing or impact of any future legislative, rulemaking or other regulatory actions, but any such actions could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations.

A significant change in, or noncompliance with, governmental regulations and other legal requirements could have a material adverse effect on our reputation and profitability.

We operate in complex, highly regulated environments around the world and could be materially and adversely affected by changes to applicable legal requirements including the related interpretations and enforcement practices, new legal requirements and/or any failure to comply with applicable regulations. Businesses in our Pharmaceutical Wholesale division are subject to a range of regulations relating to such things as product margins, product traceability and the conditions under which products must be stored. Our retail pharmacy and health and wellness services businesses are subject to numerous country, state and local regulations including licensing and other requirements for pharmacies and reimbursement arrangements. The regulations to which we are subject include, but are not limited to: country and state registration and regulation of pharmacies and drug discount card programs; dispensing and sale of controlled substances and products containing pseudoephedrine; applicable governmental payer regulations including Medicare and Medicaid; data privacy and security laws and regulations including HIPAA; the ACA or any successor thereto; laws and regulations relating to the

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protection of the environment and health and safety matters, including those governing exposure to, and the management and disposal of, hazardous substances; regulations regarding food and drug safety including those of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) and Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), trade regulations including those of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, and consumer protection and safety regulations including those of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, as well as state regulatory authorities, governing the availability, sale, advertisement and promotion of products we sell as well as our loyalty and drug discount card programs; anti-kickback laws; false claims laws; laws against the corporate practice of medicine; and foreign, national and state laws governing health care fraud and abuse and the practice of the profession of pharmacy. For example, in the United States the DEA, FDA and various other regulatory authorities regulate the distribution and dispensing of pharmaceuticals and controlled substances. We are required to hold valid DEA and state-level licenses, meet various security and operating standards and comply with the federal and various state controlled substance acts and related regulations governing the sale, dispensing, disposal, holding and distribution of controlled substances. The DEA, FDA and state regulatory authorities have broad enforcement powers, including the ability to seize or recall products and impose significant criminal, civil and administrative sanctions for violations of these laws and regulations. We are also governed by foreign, national and state laws of general applicability, including laws regulating matters of working conditions, health and safety and equal employment opportunity and other labor and employment matters as well as employee benefit, competition and antitrust matters. In addition, we could have significant exposure if we are found to have infringed another party’s intellectual property rights.

Changes in laws, regulations and policies and the related interpretations and enforcement practices may alter the landscape in which we do business and may significantly affect our cost of doing business. The impact of new laws, regulations and policies and the related interpretations and enforcement practices generally cannot be predicted, and changes in applicable laws, regulations and policies and the related interpretations and enforcement practices may require extensive system and operational changes, be difficult to implement, increase our operating costs and require significant capital expenditures. Untimely compliance or noncompliance with applicable laws and regulations could result in the imposition of civil and criminal penalties that could adversely affect the continued operation of our businesses, including:  suspension of payments from government programs; loss of required government certifications; loss of authorizations to participate in or exclusion from government programs, including the Medicare and Medicaid programs in the United States and the National Health Service in the United Kingdom; loss of licenses; and significant fines or monetary penalties. Any failure to comply with applicable regulatory requirements in the United States or in any of the countries in which we operate could result in significant legal and financial exposure, damage our reputation, and have a material adverse effect on our business operations, financial condition and results of operations.

We could be adversely affected by product liability, product recall, personal injury or other health and safety issues.

We could be adversely impacted by the supply of defective or expired products, including the infiltration of counterfeit products into the supply chain, errors in re-labeling of products, product tampering, product recall and contamination or product mishandling issues. Through our pharmacies and specialist packaging sites, we are also exposed to risks relating to the services we provide. Errors in the dispensing and packaging of pharmaceuticals, including related counseling, and in the provision of other healthcare services could lead to serious injury or death. Product liability or personal injury claims may be asserted against us with respect to any of the products or pharmaceuticals we sell or services we provide. Our healthcare clinics also increase our exposure to professional liability claims related to medical care. Should a product or other liability issue arise, the coverage limits under our insurance programs and the indemnification amounts available to us may not be adequate to protect us against claims and judgments. We also may not be able to maintain this insurance on acceptable terms in the future. We could suffer significant reputational damage and financial liability if we, or any affiliated entities, experience any of the foregoing health and safety issues or incidents, which could have a material adverse effect on our business operations, financial condition and results of operations.

We have significant outstanding debt; our debt and associated payment obligations could significantly increase in the future if we incur additional debt and do not retire existing debt.

We have outstanding debt and other financial obligations and significant unused borrowing capacity. As of August 31, 2018, we had approximately $14 billion of outstanding indebtedness, including short-term debt. Our debt level and related debt service obligations could have negative consequences, including:

requiring us to dedicate significant cash flow from operations to the payment of principal, interest and other amounts payable on our debt, which would reduce the funds we have available for other purposes, such as working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions, share repurchases and dividends;


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making it more difficult or expensive for us to obtain any necessary future financing for working capital, capital expenditures, debt service requirements, debt refinancing, acquisitions or other purposes;

reducing our flexibility in planning for or reacting to changes in our industry and market conditions;

making us more vulnerable in the event of a downturn in our business operations; and

exposing us to interest rate risk given that a portion of our debt obligations is at variable interest rates.

We may incur or assume significantly more debt in the future, including in connection with acquisitions, strategic investments or joint ventures. If we add new debt and do not retire existing debt, the risks described above could increase. We also could be adversely impacted by any failure to renew or replace, on terms acceptable to us or at all, existing funding arrangements when they expire, and any failure to satisfy applicable covenants.

Our long-term debt obligations include covenants that may adversely affect our ability, and the ability of certain of our subsidiaries, to incur certain secured indebtedness or engage in certain types of transactions. In addition, our existing credit agreements require us to maintain as of the last day of each fiscal quarter a ratio of consolidated debt to total capitalization not to exceed a certain level. Our ability to comply with these restrictions and covenants may be affected by events beyond our control. If we breach any of these restrictions or covenants and do not obtain a waiver from the lenders, then, subject to applicable cure periods, our outstanding indebtedness could be declared immediately due and payable. This could have a material adverse effect on our business operations and financial condition.

We could be adversely affected by downgrades to our credit ratings or disruptions in our ability to access well-functioning capital markets.

Historically, we have relied on the public debt capital markets to fund portions of our capital investments and access to the commercial paper market and bank credit facilities as part of our working capital management strategy. Our continued access to these markets, and the terms of such access, depend on multiple factors including the condition of debt capital markets, our operating performance, and our credit ratings. The major credit rating agencies have assigned us and our corporate debt investment grade credit ratings. These ratings are based on a number of factors, which include their assessment of our financial strength and financial policies. We benefit from investment grade ratings as they serve to lower our borrowing costs and facilitate our access to a variety of lenders and other creditors, including landlords for our leased stores, on terms that we consider advantageous to our businesses. However, there can be no assurance that any particular rating assigned to us will remain in effect for any given period of time or that a rating will not be changed or withdrawn by a rating agency, if in that rating agency’s judgment, future circumstances relating to the basis of the rating so warrant. Incurrence of additional debt by us could adversely affect our credit ratings. We depend on banks and other financial institutions to provide credit to our business and perform under our agreements with them. Defaults by one or more of these counterparties on their obligations to us could materially and adversely affect us. Any disruptions or turmoil in the capital markets or any downgrade of our credit ratings could adversely affect our cost of funds, liquidity, competitive position and access to capital markets and increase the cost of and counterparty risks associated with existing facilities, which could materially and adversely affect our business operations, financial condition, and results of operations.

We may be unable to keep existing store locations or open new locations in desirable places on favorable terms, which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations.

We compete with other retailers and businesses for suitable locations for our stores. Local land use and zoning regulations, environmental regulations and other regulatory requirements may impact our ability to find suitable locations and influence the cost of constructing, renovating and operating our stores. In addition, real estate, zoning, construction and other delays may adversely affect store openings and renovations and increase our costs. Further, changing local demographics at existing store locations may adversely affect revenue and profitability levels at those stores. The termination or expiration of leases at existing store locations may adversely affect us if the renewal terms of those leases are unacceptable to us and we are forced to close or relocate stores. If we determine to close or relocate a store subject to a lease, we may remain obligated under the applicable lease for the balance of the lease term. If we are unable to maintain our existing store locations or open new locations in desirable places and on favorable terms, our results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

As a holding company, Walgreens Boots Alliance is dependent on funding from its operating subsidiaries to pay dividends and other obligations.


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Walgreens Boots Alliance is a holding company with no business operations of its own. Its assets primarily consist of direct and indirect ownership interests in, and its business is conducted through, subsidiaries which are separate legal entities. As a result, it is dependent on funding from its subsidiaries, including Walgreens and Alliance Boots, to meet its obligations. Additionally, Walgreens Boots Alliance’s subsidiaries may be restricted in their ability to pay cash dividends or to make other distributions to Walgreens Boots Alliance, which may limit the payment of cash dividends or other distributions to the holders of Walgreens Boots Alliance common stock. Credit facilities and other debt obligations of Walgreens Boots Alliance, as well as statutory provisions, may further limit the ability of Walgreens Boots Alliance and its subsidiaries to pay dividends. Payments to Walgreens Boots Alliance by its subsidiaries are also contingent upon its subsidiaries’ earnings and business considerations. Future Walgreens Boots Alliance dividends will be determined based on earnings, capital requirements, financial condition and other factors considered relevant by its Board of Directors.

Our quarterly results may fluctuate significantly.

Our operating results have historically varied on a quarterly basis and may continue to fluctuate significantly in the future. Factors that may affect our quarterly operating results, some of which are beyond the control of management, include, but are not limited to the timing of the introduction of new generic and brand name prescription drugs; inflation, including with respect to generic drug procurement costs; the timing and severity of the cough, cold and flu season; changes in payer reimbursement rates and terms; fluctuations in inventory, energy, transportation, labor, healthcare and other costs; significant acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures and other strategic initiatives; asset impairment charges; the relative magnitude of our LIFO provision in any particular quarter; foreign currency fluctuations; seasonality; prolonged severe weather in key markets; and many of the other risk factors discussed herein. Accordingly, we believe that quarter-to-quarter comparisons of our operating results are not necessarily meaningful and investors should not rely on the results of any particular quarter as an indication of our future performance.

Our businesses are seasonal in nature, and adverse events during the holiday and cough, cold and flu seasons could adversely impact our operating results.

Our businesses are seasonal in nature, with the second fiscal quarter (December, January and February) typically generating a higher proportion of retail sales and earnings than other fiscal quarters. We purchase significant amounts of seasonal inventory in anticipation of the holiday season. Adverse events, such as deteriorating economic conditions, higher unemployment, higher gas prices, public transportation disruptions, or unanticipated adverse weather, could result in lower-than-planned sales during key selling seasons. For example, frequent or unusually heavy snowfall, ice storms, rainstorms, windstorms or other extreme weather conditions over a prolonged period could make it difficult for our customers to travel to our stores and increase our snow removal and other costs. This could lead to lower sales or to unanticipated markdowns, negatively impacting our financial condition and results of operations. In addition, both prescription and non-prescription drug sales are affected by the timing and severity of the cough, cold and flu season, which can vary considerably from year to year.

We could be adversely impacted by changes in accounting standards and subjective assumptions, estimates and judgments by management related to complex accounting matters.

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”) and related accounting pronouncements, implementation guidelines and interpretations with regard to a wide range of matters that are relevant to our businesses, including, but not limited to, revenue recognition, asset impairment, impairment of goodwill and other intangible assets, inventories, equity method investments, vendor rebates and other vendor consideration, lease obligations, self-insurance liabilities, pension and postretirement benefits, tax matters, unclaimed property laws and litigation and other contingent liabilities are highly complex and involve many subjective assumptions, estimates and judgments. Changes in these rules or their interpretation or changes in underlying assumptions, estimates or judgments could significantly change our reported or expected financial performance or financial condition. For example, changes in accounting standards and the application of existing accounting standards particularly related to the measurement of fair value as compared to carrying value for the Company’s reporting units, including goodwill, intangible assets and investments in equity interests, including investments held by our equity method investees, may have an adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition and results of operations. Factors that could lead to impairment of goodwill and intangible assets include significant adverse changes in the business climate and declines in the financial condition of a reporting unit. Factors that could lead to impairment of investments in equity interests of the companies in which we invested or the investments held by those companies include a prolonged period of decline in their operating performance or adverse changes in the economic, regulatory and legal environments of the countries in which they operate in.

New accounting guidance also may require changes to our processes, accounting systems and internal controls that could increase our operating costs and/or significantly change our financial statements. For example, in February 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842), which

- 22 -


supersedes Topic 840, Leases. This ASU, which is effective for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2018 (fiscal 2020), seeks to increase the transparency and comparability of organizations by recognizing operating lease assets and operating lease liabilities on the balance sheet and disclosing key information about leasing arrangements. See, “new accounting pronouncements,” within note 1, summary of major accounting policies, to the Consolidated Financial Statements. Implementing this ASU, as well as other new accounting guidance may require us to make significant upgrades to and investments in our lease administration systems and other accounting systems, and could result in significant adverse changes to our financial statements.

We have a substantial amount of goodwill and other intangible assets which could, in the future, become impaired and result in material non-cash charges to our results of operations.

As of August 31, 2018, we had $28.7 billion of goodwill and other intangible assets on the Consolidated Balance Sheets. We evaluate this goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets for impairment annually during the fourth quarter, or more frequently if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of a reporting unit below its carrying value. As part of this impairment analysis, we determine fair value for each reporting unit using both the income and market approaches. Definite-lived intangible assets are evaluated for impairment if an event occurs or circumstances change that indicate the carrying amount may not be recoverable. Estimated fair values could change if, for example, there are changes in the business climate, changes in the competitive environment, adverse legal or regulatory actions or developments, changes in capital structure, cost of debt, interest rates, capital expenditure levels, operating cash flows, or market capitalization. Because of the significance of our goodwill and intangible assets, any future impairment of these assets could require material non-cash charges to our results of operations, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

We are exposed to risks related to litigation and other legal proceedings.

We operate in a highly regulated and litigious environment. We are involved in legal proceedings, including litigation, arbitration and other claims, and investigations, inspections, audits, claims, inquiries and similar actions by pharmacy, healthcare, tax and other governmental authorities, including those contained in note 10, commitments and contingencies, to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in part II, item 8 of this Form 10-K. Legal proceedings, in general, and securities, class action and multi-district litigation, in particular, can be expensive and disruptive. Some of these suits may purport or may be determined to be class actions and/or involve parties seeking large and/or indeterminate amounts, including punitive or exemplary damages, and may remain unresolved for several years. In addition, under the qui tam or “whistleblower” provisions of the federal and various state false claims acts, persons may bring lawsuits alleging that a violation of the federal anti-kickback statute or similar laws has resulted in the submission of “false” claims to federal and/or state healthcare programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. After a private party has filed a qui tam action, the government must investigate the private party's claim and determine whether to intervene in and take control over the litigation. These actions may remain under seal while the government makes this determination. From time to time, the Company is also involved in legal proceedings as a plaintiff involving antitrust, tax, contract, intellectual property and other matters. We cannot predict with certainty the outcomes of these legal proceedings and other contingencies, and the costs incurred in litigation can be substantial, regardless of the outcome. Substantial unanticipated verdicts, fines and rulings do sometimes occur. As a result, we could from time to time incur judgments, enter into settlements or revise our expectations regarding the outcome of certain matters, and such developments could harm our reputation and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations in the period in which the amounts are accrued and/or our cash flows in the period in which the amounts are paid. The outcome of some of these legal proceedings and other contingencies could require us to take, or refrain from taking, actions which could negatively affect our operations. Additionally, defending against these lawsuits and proceedings may involve significant expense and diversion of management’s attention and resources.

We could be adversely affected by violations of anti-bribery, anti-corruption and/or international trade laws.

We are subject to laws concerning our business operations and marketing activities in foreign countries where we conduct business. For example, we are subject to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (the “FCPA”), U.S. export control, anti-money laundering and trade sanction laws, and similar anti-corruption and international trade laws in certain foreign countries, such as the U.K. Bribery Act, any violation of which could create substantial liability for us and also harm our reputation. The FCPA generally prohibits U.S. companies and their officers, directors, employees, and intermediaries from making improper payments to foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business abroad or otherwise obtaining favorable treatment. The FCPA also requires that U.S. public companies maintain books and records that fairly and accurately reflect transactions and maintain an adequate system of internal accounting controls. If we are found to have violated the FCPA, or any other anti-bribery, anti-corruption or international trade laws, we may face sanctions including civil and criminal fines, disgorgement of profits, and suspension or debarment of our ability to contract with governmental agencies or receive export

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licenses. In addition, new initiatives may be proposed from time to time that impact the trading conditions in certain countries or regions, and may include retaliatory duties or trade sanctions which, if enacted, could adversely impact our trading relationships with vendors or other parties in such locations and have a material adverse effect on our operations. From time to time, we may face audits or investigations by one or more domestic or foreign governmental agencies relating to our international business activities, compliance with which could be costly and time-consuming, and could divert our management and key personnel from our business operations. An adverse outcome under any such investigation or audit could damage our reputation and subject us to fines or other penalties, which could materially and adversely affect our business operations, financial condition, and results of operations.

We could be subject to adverse changes in tax laws, regulations and interpretations or challenges to our tax positions.

We are a large corporation with operations in the U.S. and numerous other jurisdictions around the world. As such, we are subject to tax laws and regulations of the U.S. federal, state and local governments as well as various foreign jurisdictions. We compute our income tax provision based on enacted tax rates in the jurisdictions in which we operate. As the tax rates vary among jurisdictions, a change in earnings attributable to the various jurisdictions in which we operate could result in an unfavorable change in our overall tax provision.

From time to time, changes in tax laws or regulations may be proposed or enacted that could adversely affect our overall tax liability. For example, the U.S. tax legislation enacted on December 22, 2017 represents a significant overhaul of the U.S. federal tax code. This tax legislation significantly reduced the U.S. statutory corporate tax rate and made other changes that could have a favorable impact on our overall U.S. federal tax liability in a given period. However, the tax legislation also included a number of provisions, including, but not limited to, the limitation or elimination of various deductions or credits (including for interest expense and for performance-based compensation under Section 162(m)), the imposition of taxes on certain cross-border payments or transfers, the changing of the timing of the recognition of certain income and deductions or their character, and the limitation of asset basis under certain circumstances, that could significantly and adversely affect our U.S. federal income tax position. The legislation also made significant changes to the tax rules applicable to insurance companies and other entities with which we do business. We are continuing to evaluate the overall impact of this tax legislation on our operations and U.S. federal income tax position. There can be no assurance that changes in tax laws or regulations, both within the U.S. and the other jurisdictions in which we operate, will not materially and adversely affect our effective tax rate, tax payments, financial condition and results of operations. Similarly, changes in tax laws and regulations that impact our customers and counterparties or the economy generally may also impact our financial condition and results of operations.

Tax laws and regulations are complex and subject to varying interpretations, and we are subject to regular review and audit by both domestic and foreign tax authorities. Any adverse outcome of such a review or audit could have a negative impact on our effective tax rate, tax payments, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, the determination of our income tax provision and other tax liabilities requires significant judgment, and there are many transactions and calculations where the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. Although we believe our estimates are reasonable, the ultimate tax determination may differ from the amounts recorded in our financial statements and may materially affect our results of operations in the period or periods for which such determination is made. Any significant failure to comply with applicable tax laws and regulations in all relevant jurisdictions could give rise to substantial penalties and liabilities. Any changes in enacted tax laws (such as the recent U.S. tax legislation), rules or regulatory or judicial interpretations; or any change in the pronouncements relating to accounting for income taxes could materially and adversely impact our effective tax rate, tax payments, financial condition and results of operations.

Our insurance strategies may expose us to unexpected costs.

We use a combination of insurance and self-insurance to provide for potential liability for workers’ compensation; automobile and general liability; property, director and officers’ liability; and employee healthcare benefits. Provisions for losses related to self-insured risks generally are based upon actuarially determined estimates. Any actuarial projection of losses is subject to a high degree of variability. Substantial, unanticipated losses or liabilities, including those due to natural disasters or otherwise, as well as changes in legal claims, trends and interpretations, variability in inflation rates, changes in the nature and method of claims settlement, benefit level changes due to changes in applicable laws, insolvency of insurance carriers, and changes in discount rates could all materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

We could be adversely impacted by changes in assumptions used in calculating pension assets and liabilities.

We operate certain defined benefit pension plans in the United Kingdom, which were closed to new entrants in 2010, as well as smaller plans in other jurisdictions. The valuation of the pension plan’s assets and liabilities depends in part on assumptions, which are primarily based on the financial markets as well as longevity and employee retention rates. This valuation is

- 24 -


particularly sensitive to material changes in the value of equity, bond and other investments held by the pension plans, changes in the corporate bond yields which are used in the measurement of the liabilities, changes in market expectations for long-term price inflation, and new evidence on projected longevity rates. Funding requirements and the impact on the statement of earnings relating to these pension plans are also influenced by these factors. Adverse changes in the assumptions used to calculate the value of pension assets and liabilities, including lower than expected pension fund investment returns and/or increased life expectancy of plan participants, or regulatory change could require us to increase the funding of its defined benefit pension plans or incur higher expenses, which would adversely impact our results of operations and financial position.

Certain stockholders may have significant voting influence over matters requiring stockholder approval.

As of September 30, 2018, affiliates of Stefano Pessina, our Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (the “SP Investors”), had sole or shared voting power, directly or indirectly, over an aggregate of approximately 15.3% of our outstanding common stock. The SP Investors have agreed to, for so long as they have the right to designate a nominee for election to the Board, to vote all of their shares of common stock in accordance with the Board’s recommendation on matters submitted to a vote of the Company’s stockholders (including with respect to the election of directors). The SP Investors’ significant interest in our common stock potentially could determine the outcome of matters submitted to a vote by our stockholders. The influence of the SP Investors could result in the Company taking actions that other stockholders do not support or failing to take actions that other stockholders support. As a result, the market price of our common stock could be adversely affected.

Shares issued to former Alliance Boots stockholders in connection with our strategic combination with Alliance Boots are eligible for future sale.

The shares issued to the SP Investors and certain other former Alliance Boots stockholders in connection with our strategic combination with Alliance Boots generally may now be sold pursuant to Rule 144 under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), subject to restrictions in the case of shares held by persons deemed to be our affiliates and to certain obligations pursuant to a shareholders agreement (as amended, the “Company Shareholders Agreement”) with certain of the SP Investors. In addition, the Company Shareholders Agreement also contains registration rights that would obligate us, in certain instances, to file future registration statements under the Securities Act covering resales of shares issued to former Alliance Boots stockholders or to permit a “piggyback” on a future registration statement. A sale, or the perception that a sale may occur, of a substantial number of shares of our common stock could adversely impact the market price of our common stock.

Conflicts of interest, or the appearance of conflicts of interest, may arise because certain of our directors and officers are also owners or directors of companies we may have dealings with.

Conflicts of interest, or the appearance of conflicts of interest, could arise between our interests and the interests of the other entities and business activities in which our directors or officers are involved. For example, potential conflicts of interest could arise if a dispute were to arise between the Company and other parties to the Company Shareholders Agreement, including the SP Investors. Mr. Pessina, our Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, indirectly controls Alliance Santé Participations S.A. (“ASP”), a privately-held company which is a party to the Company Shareholders Agreement, and he and his partner Ornella Barra, our Co-Chief Operating Officer, serve as directors of ASP. There are other arrangements between affiliates of Mr. Pessina and the Company, with required disclosures included in the Company’s annual proxy statement. Conflicts of interest, or the appearance of conflicts of interest, or similar issues could arise in connection with these or other transactions in the future. While our contractual arrangements place restrictions on the parties’ conduct in certain situations, and related party transactions are subject to independent review and approval in accordance with our related party transaction approval procedures and applicable law, the potential for a conflict of interest exists and such persons may have conflicts of interest, or the appearance of conflicts of interest, with respect to matters involving or affecting both companies.

Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, Delaware law and/or our agreements with certain stockholders may impede the ability of our stockholders to make changes to our Board or impede a takeover.

Certain provisions of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, as well as provisions of the Delaware General Corporation Law (the “DGCL”), could make it difficult for stockholders to change the composition of the Board or discourage, delay, or prevent a merger, consolidation, or acquisitions that stockholders may otherwise consider favorable. These provisions include the authorization of the issuance of “blank check” preferred stock that could be issued by the Board, limitations on the ability of stockholders to call special meetings, and advance notice requirements for nomination for election to the Board or for proposing matters that can be acted upon by stockholders at stockholder meetings. We are also subject to the provisions of Section 203 of the DGCL, which prohibits us, except under specified circumstances, from engaging in any mergers, significant

- 25 -


sales of stock or assets, or business combinations with any stockholder or group of stockholders who own 15% or more of our common stock.

Under the Company Shareholders Agreement, the SP Investors are entitled to designate one nominee to the Board (currently Stefano Pessina) for so long as the SP Investors continue to meet certain beneficial ownership thresholds and subject to certain other conditions. Pursuant to the Company Shareholders Agreement, the SP Investors have agreed that, for so long as they have the right to designate a nominee to the Board, they will vote all of their shares of common stock in accordance with the Board’s recommendation on matters submitted to a vote of our stockholders (including with respect to the election of directors).

While these provisions do not make us immune from takeovers or changes in the composition of the Board, and are intended to protect our stockholders from, among other things, coercive or otherwise unfair tactics, these provisions could have the effect of making it difficult for stockholders to change the composition of the Board or discouraging, delaying, or preventing a merger, consolidation, or acquisitions that stockholders may otherwise consider favorable. See also the risk factor captioned “Certain stockholders may have significant voting influence over matters requiring stockholder approval” above.

We cannot guarantee that our stock repurchase program will be fully implemented or that it will enhance long-term stockholder value.

In June 2018, our Board of Directors approved a new stock repurchase program authorizing the repurchase of up to $10 billion of our common stock. The repurchase program does not have an expiration date and we are not obligated to repurchase a specified number or dollar value of shares, on any particular timetable or at all. There can be no assurance that we will repurchase stock at favorable prices. The repurchase program may be suspended or terminated at any time and, even if fully implemented, may not enhance long-term stockholder value.

The market price of our common stock may be volatile.

The market price of shares of our common stock may be volatile. Broad general economic, political, market and industry factors may adversely affect the market price of the shares, regardless of our actual operating performance. In addition to the other risk factors identified in this Item 1A, factors that could cause fluctuations in the price of the shares include:

actual or anticipated variations in quarterly operating results and the results of competitors;

changes in financial estimates by us or by any securities analysts that might cover us;

conditions or trends in the industry, including regulatory changes or changes in the securities marketplace;

announcements by us or our competitors of significant acquisitions, strategic partnerships or divestitures;

announcements of investigations or regulatory scrutiny of our operations or lawsuits filed against us;

additions or departures of key personnel;

issuances or sales of our common stock, including sales of shares by our directors and officers or key investors, including the SP Investors; and

various other market factors or perceived market factors, including rumors or speculation, whether or not correct, involving or affecting us or our industries, vendors, customers, strategic partners or competitors.

There are a number of additional business risks that could materially and adversely affect our businesses and financial results.

Many other factors could materially and adversely affect our businesses and financial results, including:

If we are unsuccessful in establishing effective advertising, marketing and promotional programs, our sales or sales margins could be negatively affected.

Our operating costs may be subject to increases outside the control of our businesses, whether due to inflation, new or increased taxes, adverse fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, changes in market conditions or otherwise.


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Our success depends on our ability to attract, engage and retain store, professional and management personnel, including in executive and other key strategic positions, and the loss of key personnel could have an adverse effect on the results of our operations, financial condition or cash flow.

Natural disasters, civil unrest, severe weather conditions, terrorist activities, global political and economic developments, war, health epidemics or pandemics or the prospect of these events can interrupt or otherwise adversely impact our operations or damage our facilities or those of our strategic partners, vendors and customers and have an adverse impact on consumer confidence levels and spending on our products and services.

If we or our affiliates were to incur significant liabilities or expense relating to the protection of the environment, related health and safety matters, environmental remediation or compliance with environmental laws and regulations, including those governing exposure to, and the management and disposal of, hazardous substances, it could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flow.

The long-term effects of climate change on general economic conditions and the pharmacy industry in particular are unclear, and changes in the supply, demand or available sources of energy and the regulatory and other costs associated with energy production and delivery may affect the availability or cost of goods and services, including natural resources, necessary to run our businesses.

We are at risk of adverse publicity and potential losses, liabilities and reputational harm stemming from any public incident (whether occurring online, in social media, in our stores or other company facilities, or elsewhere) involving our company, our personnel or our brands, including any such public incident involving our customers, products, services, stores or other property, or those of any of our vendors or other parties with which we do business.

If negative publicity, even if unwarranted, related to safety or quality, human and workplace rights, or other issues damage our brand image and corporate reputation, or that of any of our vendors or strategic allies, our businesses and results of operations may suffer.

Item 1B.  Unresolved staff comments
There are no unresolved written comments that were received from the SEC Staff 180 days or more before the end of the fiscal year relating to the Company’s periodic or current reports under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Item 2.  Properties
The following information regarding the Company’s properties is provided as of August 31, 2018 and does not include properties of unconsolidated, partially-owned entities.

The Retail Pharmacy USA division operated 9,560 retail stores and seven specialty pharmacies. The Retail Pharmacy International division operated 4,767 retail stores. In addition, the Retail Pharmacy International division also owned or leased 394 standalone Boots Opticians locations. The Company’s domestic and international retail locations, which included Boots Opticians and specialty pharmacy locations, covered approximately 150 million square feet. The Company owned approximately 12% and 4% of these Retail Pharmacy USA division and Retail Pharmacy International division locations, respectively. The remaining locations were leased or licensed. For more information on leases, see note 4, leases, to the Consolidated Financial Statements in part II, item 8 of this Form 10-K.


- 27 -


The following is a breakdown of the Company’s retail stores:
 
Retail stores
Retail Pharmacy USA:
 
United States
9,451

Puerto Rico
108

U.S. Virgin Islands
1

 
9,560

 
 
Retail Pharmacy International:
 
United Kingdom
2,485

Mexico
1,240

Chile
424

Thailand
285

Norway
160

The Republic of Ireland
87

The Netherlands
59

Lithuania
27

 
4,767

Walgreens Boots Alliance total
14,327


The Company operated 20 retail distribution centers with a total of approximately 14 million square feet of space, of which 13 locations were owned. Geographically, 15 of these retail distribution centers were located in the United States and five were located outside of the United States. In addition, the Company used public warehouses and third-party distributors to handle certain retail distribution needs. The Company’s Retail Pharmacy USA division also operated two prescription mail service facilities which occupied approximately 260 thousand square feet. One of these prescription mail service facilities was leased.

The Company operated 291 pharmaceutical distribution centers located outside of the United States, of which 117 were owned. These pharmaceutical distribution centers occupied approximately 13 million square feet and were operated by the Pharmaceutical Wholesale division, which supplied third-party customers as well as the Retail Pharmacy International division in certain countries.

The Company operated 24 principal office facilities, which occupied approximately three million square feet. Nine of these principal office facilities were owned, and two of which were located in the United States.

Item 3.  Legal proceedings
The information in response to this item is included in note 10, commitments and contingencies, to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in part II, item 8, of this Form 10-K.

Item 4.  Mine safety disclosures
Not applicable.

Executive officers of the registrant
The following table sets forth, for each person currently serving as an executive officer of the Company, the name, age (as of October 11, 2018) and office(s) held by such person:

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Name
 
Age
 
Office(s) held
James A. Skinner
 
73
 
Executive Chairman of the Board
Stefano Pessina
 
77
 
Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Ornella Barra
 
64
 
Co-Chief Operating Officer
Alexander W. Gourlay
 
58
 
Co-Chief Operating Officer
James Kehoe
 
55
 
Executive Vice President and Global Chief Financial Officer
Ken Murphy
 
52
 
Executive Vice President, Chief Commercial Officer and President of Global Brands
Marco Pagni
 
56
 
Executive Vice President, Global Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel
Kimberly R. Scardino
 
47
 
Senior Vice President, Global Controller and Chief Accounting Officer
Kathleen Wilson-Thompson
 
61
 
Executive Vice President and Global Chief Human Resources Officer

Set forth below is information regarding the principal occupations and employment and business experience over the past five years for each executive officer. Executive officers are elected by, and serve at the discretion of, the Board of Directors. Unless otherwise stated, employment is by Walgreens Boots Alliance.
Mr. Skinner has served as Executive Chairman since January 2015, having served as non-executive Chairman of the Board from July 2012 to January 2015. Mr. Skinner previously served McDonald’s Corporation as Vice Chairman from January 2003 to June 2012, as Chief Executive Officer from November 2004 to June 2012 and as a director from 2004 to June 2012. Since 2005, Mr. Skinner has served as a director of Illinois Tool Works Inc. Mr. Skinner served as a director of HP Inc. (f/k/a Hewlett-Packard Company) from July 2013 to November 2015.
Mr. Pessina has served as Chief Executive Officer since July 2015 and as Executive Vice Chairman since January 2015. He served as Acting Chief Executive Officer from January 2015 to July 2015. Previously, he served as Executive Chairman of Alliance Boots from July 2007 to December 2014. Prior to that, Mr. Pessina served as Executive Deputy Chairman of Alliance Boots. Prior to the merger of Alliance UniChem and Boots Group, Mr. Pessina was Executive Deputy Chairman of Alliance UniChem, previously having been its Chief Executive for three years through December 2004. Mr. Pessina was appointed to the Alliance UniChem Board in 1997 when UniChem merged with Alliance Santé, the Franco-Italian pharmaceutical wholesale group which he established in Italy in 1977. Mr. Pessina also serves on the Board of Directors of a number of private companies, including Sprint Acquisitions Holdings Limited, and from 2000 to 2017 served on the Board of Directors of Galenica AG, a publicly-traded Swiss healthcare group.
Ms. Barra has served as Co-Chief Operating Officer since June 2016. She served as Executive Vice President, President and Chief Executive of Global Wholesale and International Retail from December 2014 to June 2016. Previously, she served as the Chief Executive, Wholesale and Brands of Alliance Boots from September 2013 to December 2014 and Chief Executive of the Pharmaceutical Wholesale Division of Alliance Boots from January 2009 to September 2013, and before that, Wholesale & Commercial Affairs Director of Alliance Boots. Since April 2013, Ms. Barra has served as a director of Assicurazioni Generali, the parent company of Generali Group, a global insurance group, and since January 2015, Ms. Barra has served as a director of AmerisourceBergen. Ms. Barra also serves as a director of a number of private companies, including Sprint Acquisitions Holdings Limited and, until February 2015, served as a director of Alliance Boots.
Mr. Gourlay has served as Co-Chief Operating Officer since June 2016. He served as Executive Vice President, President of Walgreens from December 2014 to June 2016. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President, President of Customer Experience and Daily Living of Walgreens from October 2013 to December 2014 and President Elect of Walgreens from September 2014 to December 2014. He served as Chief Executive of the Health & Beauty Division, Alliance Boots, from January 2009 to September 2013, and previously was Managing Director of Boots UK and a member of the Alliance Boots operating committee following the acquisition of Alliance Boots by Sprint Acquisitions Holdings Limited in 2007. He served as a director of Alliance Boots from January 2009 to September 2013.
Mr. Kehoe has served as Executive Vice President and Global Chief Financial Officer since June 2018. Previously, he served Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited as Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Officer from June 2016 to March 2018 and as a board director June 2017 to May 2018. He previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Kraft Foods Group, Inc. from February 2015 to July 2015. Previously, he worked for Gildan Activewear Inc., a supplier of branded family apparel in Canada, where he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial and Administrative Officer earlier in 2015. Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President, Operating Excellence at Mondelēz International, Inc. from November 2013 until December 2014. Mr. Kehoe joined Kraft in 1988 and held a variety of senior-level positions, including serving as Senior Vice President, Corporate Finance from October 2012 to October 2013, and Senior Vice President, Finance of Kraft Foods North America from November 2010 until September 2012.

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Mr. Murphy has served as Executive Vice President and President of Global Brands since December 2014 and as Chief Commercial Officer since June 2016. Previously, he served as Managing Director, Health & Beauty, International and Brands at Alliance Boots from August 2013 to December 2014 and joint Chief Operating Officer for Boots in the UK and Republic of Ireland. Prior to this, Mr. Murphy had held the positions of Commercial Director for Boots UK and Group Business Transformation Director for Alliance Boots, where he led the integration of Alliance UniChem and Boots Group in 2006 following the merger of the two companies.
Mr. Pagni has served as Executive Vice President, Global Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel since February 2016. He served as Executive Vice President, Global Chief Legal and Administrative Officer from February 2015 to February 2016. Previously, he served as Executive Director and Group Legal Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer of Alliance Boots from 2007 to 2014 and General Counsel and Company Secretary for Alliance Boots from 2006 to 2007, having joined Alliance UniChem, a predecessor company, in the same position in 2003. Prior to this, Mr. Pagni served at McDonald’s Corporation for 10 years in a number of senior management positions across the world, including in the U.S. and UK, such as Vice President of International Development, and Vice President, General Counsel, International. Mr. Pagni serves as a director of Sprint Acquisitions Holdings Limited and, until February 2015, served as a director of Alliance Boots.
Ms. Scardino has served as Senior Vice President, Global Controller and Chief Accounting Officer since August 2015. Previously, she served American Express Company and its subsidiaries in roles of increasing responsibility, including as Senior Vice President, Business Advisory Controller from March 2015 to July 2015, Senior Vice President, Americas Controller from June 2012 to March 2015, Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer of American Express Credit Corp. from December 2009 to June 2012, and Vice President, Global Head of SOX Compliance. Prior to joining American Express in 2006, Ms. Scardino served in accounting functions at Credit Suisse from 2004 to 2006 and at Lyondell Chemical Company from 2002 to 2004. Ms. Scardino started her career at Arthur Andersen LLP, where she was an auditor from 1994 to 2002.
Ms. Wilson-Thompson has served as Executive Vice President and Global Chief Human Resources Officer since December 2014. Previously, she served as Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of Walgreens from January 2010 to December 2014. Prior to that, she served in a variety of legal and operational positions at Kellogg Company, most recently as Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources from July 2005 to December 2009. She has served as a director of Vulcan Materials Company, a producer of construction aggregates, since 2009 and Ashland Global Holdings Inc., a global specialty chemicals company, since 2017.
Mr. Pessina and Ms. Barra are partners and share a private residence. There are no other family relationships among any of our directors or executive officers.

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PART II

Item 5.  Market for registrant’s common equity, related stockholder matters and issuer purchases of equity securities
Walgreens Boots Alliance’s common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol WBA. As of August 31, 2018, there were approximately 56,000 holders of record of Walgreens Boots Alliance common stock.
 
The following table sets forth the high and low closing prices of the Company’s common stock by quarter during the fiscal years ended August 31, 2018 and 2017 as reported by the Consolidated Transaction Reporting System.
 
 
 
 
Quarter ended
 
 
 
 
 
 
November
 
February
 
May
 
August
 
Fiscal year
Fiscal 2018
 
High
 
$
82.74

 
$
80.27

 
$
70.60

 
$
70.25

 
$
82.74

 
 
Low 
 
64.48

 
68.22

 
62.23

 
59.70

 
59.70

Fiscal 2017
 
High
 
$
85.53

 
$
87.73

 
$
86.77

 
$
83.38

 
$
87.73

 
 
Low
 
77.18

 
80.47

 
80.16

 
76.34

 
76.34

 
Cash dividends per common share declared during the two fiscal years ended August 31 were as follows:
Quarter ended
 
2018
 
2017
November
 
$
0.400

 
$
0.375

February
 
0.400

 
0.375

May
 
0.400

 
0.375

August
 
0.440

 
0.400

 
 
$
1.640

 
$
1.525


The Company has paid cash dividends every quarter since 1933. Future dividends will be determined based on earnings, capital requirements, financial condition and other factors considered relevant by the Walgreens Boots Alliance Board of Directors.

The following table provides information about purchases made by the Company during the quarter ended August 31, 2018 of equity securities that are registered by the Company pursuant to Section 12 of the Exchange Act. Subject to applicable law, share purchases may be made from time to time in open market transactions, privately negotiated transactions including accelerated share repurchase agreements, or pursuant to instruments and plans complying with Rule 10b5-1, among other types of transactions and arrangements.
 
 
Issuer purchases of equity securities
Period
 
Total
number of
shares
purchased
 
Average
price paid
per share
 
Total number of shares
purchased as part of publicly
announced repurchase
programs1
 
Approximate dollar value of
shares that may yet be
purchased under the plans or
programs1
6/1/18 - 6/30/18
 

 
$

 

 
$
10,000,000,000

7/1/18 - 7/31/18
 
31,855,404

 
64.13

 
31,855,404

 
7,956,840,007

8/1/18 - 8/31/18
 
9,714,240

 
67.93

 
41,569,644

 
7,296,839,059

 
 
41,569,644

 
$
65.02

 
41,569,644

 
$
7,296,839,059

1 
In June 2018, Walgreens Boots Alliance authorized a stock repurchase program, which authorized the repurchase of up to $10.0 billion of Walgreens Boots Alliance common stock. This program has no specified expiration date.

- 31 -


Item 6.  Selected financial data
Five-Year Summary of Selected Consolidated Financial Data
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. and Subsidiaries
(Dollars in millions, except per share amounts)
Fiscal year
2018
 
2017
 
2016
 
20155
 
2014
Sales
$
131,537

 
$
118,214

 
$
117,351

 
$
103,444

 
$
76,392

Cost of sales
100,745

 
89,052

 
87,477

 
76,691

 
54,823

Gross profit
30,792

 
29,162


29,874


26,753


21,569

Selling, general and administrative expenses
24,569

 
23,740

 
23,910

 
22,400

 
17,992

Equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen1
191

 
135

 
37

 

 

Equity earnings in Alliance Boots2

 

 

 
315

 
617

Operating income
6,414

 
5,557


6,001


4,668


4,194

Gain on previously held equity interest3

 

 

 
563

 

Other income (expense)4
177

 
(11
)
 
(261
)
 
685

 
(481
)
Earnings before interest and income tax provision
6,591

 
5,546

 
5,740

 
5,916

 
3,713

Interest expense, net
616

 
693

 
596

 
605

 
156

Earnings before income tax provision
5,975

 
4,853


5,144


5,311


3,557

Income tax provision
998

 
760

 
997

 
1,056

 
1,526

Post tax earnings from other equity method investments
54

 
8

 
44

 
24

 

Net earnings
5,031

 
4,101

 
4,191

 
4,279

 
2,031

Net earnings attributable to noncontrolling interests
7

 
23

 
18

 
59

 
99

Net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
$
5,024

 
$
4,078


$
4,173


$
4,220


$
1,932

Per Common Share
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 
Net earnings
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 
Basic
$
5.07

 
$
3.80

 
$
3.85

 
$
4.05

 
$
2.03

Diluted
5.05

 
3.78

 
3.82

 
4.00

 
2.00

Dividends declared
1.640

 
1.525

 
1.455

 
1.373

 
1.283

Balance Sheet
 

 
 

 
 

 
 
 
 
Total assets
$
68,124

 
$
66,009

 
$
72,688

 
$
68,782

 
$
37,250

Long-term debt
12,431

 
12,684

 
18,705

 
13,315

 
3,716

Total Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. shareholders’ equity
26,007

 
27,466

 
29,880

 
30,861

 
20,513

Noncontrolling interests
682

 
808

 
401

 
439

 
104

Total equity
$
26,689

 
$
28,274


$
30,281


$
31,300


$
20,617

 
1 
Effective March 18, 2016, the Company began accounting for its investment in AmerisourceBergen using the equity method of accounting, subject to a two-month reporting lag.
2 
On August 2, 2012, the Company completed the acquisition of 45% of the issued and outstanding share capital of Alliance Boots in exchange for cash and Company shares. The Company accounted for this investment under the equity method until it completed the acquisition of the remaining 55% of Alliance Boots on December 31, 2014. As a result, fiscal 2015 includes the results of Alliance Boots for eight months (January through August 2015) on a fully consolidated basis and four months (September through December 2014) as equity earnings in Alliance Boots reflecting Walgreens’ pre-merger 45% interest.
3 
In fiscal 2015, as a result of acquiring the remaining 55% interest in Alliance Boots, the Company’s previously held 45% interest was remeasured to fair value, resulting in a gain of $563 million.
4 
Fiscal 2018 includes the gain on sale of the Company’s equity interest in Premise Health, partially offset by the impairment of the Company’s equity method investment in Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals Corporation. In fiscal 2016, 2015 and 2014, the Company recorded other income (expense) of $(517) million, $779 million and $385 million, respectively, from fair value adjustments of the AmerisourceBergen warrants and the amortization of the deferred credit associated with the initial value of the warrants. Fiscal 2016 also includes income of $268 million related to the change in accounting method for the Company’s investment in AmerisourceBergen. Fiscal 2015 also includes a $94 million loss on derivative contracts that were not designated as accounting hedges. In fiscal 2014, the Company recognized a non-cash loss of $866 million related

- 32 -


to the amendment and exercise of the Alliance Boots call option to acquire the remaining 55% share capital of Alliance Boots.
5 
To improve comparability, certain classification changes were made to prior period sales, cost of sales and selling, general and administrative expenses. These changes had no impact on operating income. The reclassifications were made in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016.

- 33 -


Item 7.  Management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations
The following discussion and analysis of the Company’s financial condition and results of operations should be read together with the financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere herein and the description of the Company’s business and reportable segments in item 1 above. This discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results may differ materially from those discussed in forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause a difference include, but are not limited to, those discussed under cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements below and in risk factors in part I, item 1A of this Form 10-K. References herein to the “Company,” “we,” “us,” or “our” refer to Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. and its subsidiaries from and after the effective time of the Reorganization on December 31, 2014 and, prior to that time, to its predecessor Walgreen Co. and its subsidiaries, and in each case do not include unconsolidated partially-owned entities, except as otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires.

INTRODUCTION
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (“Walgreens Boots Alliance”) and its subsidiaries are a global pharmacy-led health and wellbeing enterprise. Its operations are conducted through three reportable segments:
Retail Pharmacy USA;
Retail Pharmacy International; and
Pharmaceutical Wholesale

See note 16, segment reporting, for further information.

Acquisition of certain Rite Aid Corporation (Rite Aid) assets
On September 19, 2017, the Company announced that it had secured regulatory clearance for an amended and restated asset purchase agreement to purchase 1,932 stores, three distribution centers and related inventory from Rite Aid for $4.375 billion in cash and other consideration. The Company has completed the acquisition of all 1,932 Rite Aid stores. The transition of the first distribution center and related inventory occurred in September 2018 and the transition of the remaining two distribution centers and related inventory remains subject to closing conditions set forth in the amended and restated asset purchase agreement.

The Company continues to expect to complete integration of the acquired stores and related assets by the end of fiscal 2020, at an estimated total cost of approximately $750 million, which is reported as acquisition-related costs. During fiscal 2018, the Company recognized pre-tax charges to its financial results of $221 million related to integration of the acquired stores and related assets. In addition, the Company continues to expect to spend approximately $500 million of capital on store conversions and related activities. The Company expects annual synergies from the transaction of more than $325 million, compared to the Company’s previously stated expectation of $300 million, which are expected to be fully realized within four years of the initial closing of this transaction and derived primarily from procurement, cost savings and other operational matters.

The amounts and timing of all estimates are subject to change until finalized. The actual amounts and timing may vary materially based on various factors. See “cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements” below.

Comparability
The influence of certain holidays, seasonality, foreign currency rates, changes in vendor, payer and customer relationships and terms, strategic transactions including acquisitions, for example the acquisition of stores and other assets from Rite Aid, joint ventures and other strategic collaborations, changes in laws, for example the U.S. tax law changes, the timing and magnitude of cost reduction initiatives, and general economic conditions in the markets in which the Company operates and other factors on the Company’s operations and net earnings for any period may not be comparable to the same period in previous years and are not necessarily indicative of future operating results.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
Premise Health
On June 28, 2018, Premise Health Holding Corp. and OMERS, a Canadian pension fund, announced that an affiliate of OMERS would acquire control of Premise Health, an entity in which the Company indirectly held a minority equity interest. In July 2018, the Company completed the sale of its minority equity interest in Premise Health, resulting in an after-tax gain on disposition of $245 million. The Company treated this transaction as a special item, which is reported as a gain on sale of equity method investment impacting comparability of results in its earnings disclosures for fiscal 2018.

Investment in Chinese Pharmacy Chain GuoDa

- 34 -


On December 6, 2017 the Company announced that it had reached an agreement with China National Accord Medicines Corporation Ltd. to become an investor in its subsidiary Sinopharm Holding Guoda Drugstores Co., Ltd. (“GuoDa”), a leading retail pharmacy chain in China.

Following a public tender process, the Company’s bid met all the requirements set by the seller to acquire a 40 percent equity interest in GuoDa for approximately $416 million. On July 5, 2018, the Company acquired its 40 percent equity interest and began to account for this investment using the equity method of accounting. See note 5, equity method investments, to the Consolidated Financial Statements included herein for further information.

U.S. tax law changes
The United States government enacted comprehensive tax legislation in December 2017. The U.S. tax law changes include broad and complex changes affecting the Company's fiscal 2018 and future results. Among other things, the U.S. tax law changes reduced the federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% effective January 1, 2018 and require companies to immediately accrue for a one-time transition tax on certain un-repatriated earnings of foreign subsidiaries, which is payable over an eight year period. The U.S. tax law changes modify the taxation of foreign earnings, repeal the deduction for domestic production activities, limit interest deductibility and establish a global intangible low tax income (GILTI) regime.

In connection with the Company’s ongoing analysis of the impact of the U.S. tax law changes, which is provisional and subject to change, the Company recorded a net tax benefit of $125 million during fiscal 2018. This provisional net tax benefit arises from a benefit of $648 million from re-measuring the Company’s net U.S. deferred tax liabilities, partly offset by the Company’s accrual for the transition tax and other U.S. tax law changes of $523 million. As of August 31, 2018, while the Company made reasonable estimates of the impact of the U.S. tax law changes, the final impact may differ from these estimates, due to, among other things, changes in its interpretations and assumptions, technical clarifications from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and IRS and actions the Company may take.

In addition, the Company’s results for fiscal 2018 also include a net reduction to the effective tax rate for the current year as a result of the U.S. tax law changes. The lower corporate income tax rate of 21% became effective January 1, 2018, resulting in a U.S. statutory federal tax rate of approximately 26% for fiscal 2018 and 21% for subsequent fiscal years, which provided a benefit to the fiscal 2018 tax provision of approximately $307 million.

EXIT AND DISPOSAL ACTIVITIES
Store Optimization Program
On October 24, 2017, the Company’s Board of Directors approved a plan to implement a program (the “Store Optimization Program”) to optimize store locations through the planned closure of approximately 600 stores and related assets within the Company’s Retail Pharmacy USA segment upon completion of the acquisition of certain stores and related assets from Rite Aid. The actions under the Store Optimization Program commenced in March 2018 and are expected to take place over an 18 month period. The Store Optimization Program is expected to result in cost savings of approximately $325 million per year, compared to the Company’s previously stated expectation of $300 million, to be fully delivered by the end of fiscal 2020.

The Company currently estimates that it will recognize cumulative pre-tax charges to its GAAP financial results of approximately $450 million, including costs associated with lease obligations and other real estate costs, employee severance and other exit costs. The Company expects to incur pre-tax charges of approximately $270 million for lease obligations and other real estate costs and approximately $180 million for employee severance and other exit costs. The Company estimates that substantially all of these cumulative pre-tax charges will result in cash expenditures.

The Company has recognized cumulative pre-tax charges to its financial results in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America ("GAAP") of $100 million, which were recorded within selling, general and administrative expenses. These charges included $19 million related to lease obligations and other real estate costs and $81 million in employee severance and other exit costs.

Store Optimization Program charges are recognized as the costs are incurred over time in accordance with GAAP. The Company treats charges related to the Store Optimization Program as special items impacting comparability of results in its earnings disclosures.

The amounts and timing of all estimates are subject to change until finalized. The actual amounts and timing may vary materially based on various factors. See “cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements” below.

Cost Transformation Program

- 35 -


On April 8, 2015, the Walgreens Boots Alliance Board of Directors approved a plan to implement a restructuring program (the “Cost Transformation Program”) as part of an initiative to reduce costs and increase operating efficiencies. The Cost Transformation Program implemented and built on the planned three-year, $1.0 billion cost-reduction initiative previously announced by Walgreens on August 6, 2014 and included a number of elements designed to help achieve profitable growth through increased cost efficiencies. In April 2015, the Company announced that it had identified additional opportunities for cost savings that increased the total expected cost savings of the Cost Transformation Program by $500 million to a targeted $1.5 billion by the end of fiscal 2017, with significant areas of focus including plans to close approximately 200 stores across the U.S.; reorganize divisional and field operations; drive operating efficiencies; and streamline information technology and other functions. The actions under the Cost Transformation Program focused primarily on the Company’s Retail Pharmacy USA segment. The Company achieved the targeted $1.5 billion in savings from the Cost Transformation Program ahead of schedule. As announced in the second quarter of fiscal 2017, the Company closed a total of approximately 260 stores. 

The Company completed the Cost Transformation Program in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, and over the duration of the program, 255 stores were closed. Full program benefits will be recognized in subsequent periods. The Company recognized cumulative pre-tax charges to its fiscal 2017 financial results in accordance with GAAP of $1.8 billion. These charges included $743 million for asset impairment charges relating primarily to asset write-offs from store closures, information technology, inventory and other non-operational real estate asset write-offs; $665 million for real estate costs, including lease obligations (net of estimated sublease income); and $393 million for employee severance and other business transition and exit costs. The Company estimates that approximately 60% of the cumulative pre-tax charges will result in cash expenditures over time, primarily related to historical and future lease and other real estate payments and employee separation costs. See note 3, exit and disposal activities, to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.

AMERISOURCEBERGEN CORPORATION RELATIONSHIP
In March 2013, Walgreens, Alliance Boots and AmerisourceBergen announced various agreements and arrangements, including a ten-year pharmaceutical distribution agreement between Walgreens and AmerisourceBergen pursuant to which branded and generic pharmaceutical products are sourced from AmerisourceBergen in the United States and an agreement which provides AmerisourceBergen the ability to access generics pharmaceutical products through WBAD. In May 2016, certain of these agreements were extended for three years to now expire in 2026.
 
In addition, in March 2013, Walgreens, Alliance Boots and AmerisourceBergen entered into agreements and arrangements pursuant to which the Company has the right, but not the obligation, to purchase a minority equity position in AmerisourceBergen over time through open market purchases and pursuant to warrants to acquire AmerisourceBergen common stock and gain associated representation on AmerisourceBergen’s Board of Directors in certain circumstances. Please refer to the Company’s Form 8-K filed on March 20, 2013 for more detailed information regarding these agreements and arrangements. 

On March 18, 2016, the Company exercised warrants to purchase 22,696,912 shares of AmerisourceBergen common stock at an exercise price of $51.50 per share for an aggregate exercise price payment of $1.17 billion. On August 25, 2016, the Company exercised additional warrants to purchase 22,696,912 shares of AmerisourceBergen common stock at an exercise price of $52.50 per share for an aggregate exercise price payment of $1.19 billion. As of August 31, 2018, the Company owned 56,854,867 AmerisourceBergen common shares representing approximately 26% of the outstanding AmerisourceBergen common stock and had designated one member of AmerisourceBergen’s board of directors. As of August 31, 2018, the Company can acquire up to an additional 8,398,752 AmerisourceBergen shares in the open market and thereafter designate another member of AmerisourceBergen’s board of directors, subject in each case to applicable legal and contractual requirements. The amount of permitted open market purchases is subject to increase or decrease in certain circumstances.

Effective March 18, 2016, the Company began accounting for its investment in AmerisourceBergen using the equity method of accounting, subject to a two-month reporting lag, with the net earnings attributable to the investment being classified within the operating income of the Company’s Pharmaceutical Wholesale segment. See note 5, equity method investments, to the Consolidated Financial Statements included herein for further information. Due to the March 18, 2016 effective date and the two-month reporting lag, the Company’s results for the 12 month period ended August 31, 2016 include approximately three and a half months of equity method income relating to its investment in AmerisourceBergen. Similarly, results for the 12 month period ended August 31, 2017 include approximately ten and a half months of equity income reflecting the Company’s increased ownership following the exercise on August 25, 2016 of the second tranche of warrants.
 
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The following table presents certain key financial statistics for the Company for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016:

- 36 -


 
 
(in millions, except per share amounts)
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Sales
 
$
131,537

 
$
118,214

 
$
117,351

Gross profit
 
30,792

 
29,162

 
29,874

Selling, general and administrative expenses
 
24,569

 
23,740

 
23,910

Equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen
 
191

 
135

 
37

Operating income
 
6,414

 
5,557

 
6,001

Adjusted operating income (Non-GAAP measure)1
 
7,804

 
7,540

 
7,208

Earnings before interest and income tax provision
 
6,591

 
5,546

 
5,740

Net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
 
5,024

 
4,078

 
4,173

Adjusted net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Non-GAAP measure)1
 
5,985

 
5,503

 
5,009

Net earnings per common share – diluted
 
5.05

 
3.78

 
3.82

Adjusted net earnings per common share – diluted (Non-GAAP measure)1
 
6.02

 
5.10

 
4.59

 
 
Percentage increases (decreases)
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Sales
 
11.3
 
0.7
 
13.4
Gross profit
 
5.6
 
(2.4)
 
11.7
Selling, general and administrative expenses
 
3.5
 
(0.7)
 
6.7
Operating income
 
15.4
 
(7.4)
 
28.6
Adjusted operating income (Non-GAAP measure)1
 
3.5
 
4.6
 
17.1
Earnings before interest and income tax provision
 
18.8
 
(3.4)
 
(3.0)
Net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
 
23.2
 
(2.3)
 
(1.1)
Adjusted net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Non-GAAP measure)1
 
8.8
 
9.9
 
22.6
Net earnings per common share – diluted
 
33.6
 
(1.0)
 
(4.5)
Adjusted net earnings per common share – diluted (Non-GAAP measure)1
 
18.0
 
11.1
 
18.3
 
 
Percent to sales
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Gross margin
 
23.4
 
24.7
 
25.5
Selling, general and administrative expenses
 
18.7
 
20.1
 
20.4
1 
See “--Non-GAAP Measures” below for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable financial measure calculated in accordance with GAAP.

WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

Fiscal 2018 compared to fiscal 2017
Fiscal 2018 net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance increased 23.2 percent to $5.0 billion, while diluted net earnings per share increased 33.6 percent to $5.05 compared with the prior year. The increases primarily reflect the Company’s Cost Transformation Program in prior year, operating performance and the gain on sale of the Company’s equity interest in Premise Health, partially offset by certain legal and regulatory accruals and an impairment of the Company’s equity method investment in Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals Corporation. Diluted net earnings per share was also positively affected by a lower number of shares outstanding compared with the prior year.

Other income for fiscal 2018 was $177 million compared to an expense of $11 million for fiscal 2017. Other income for fiscal 2018 includes the gain on sale of the Company’s equity interest Premise Health, partially offset by the impairment of the Company’s equity method investment in Guangzhou Pharmaceuticals Corporation.
 
Interest was a net expense of $616 million and $693 million in fiscal 2018 and 2017, respectively.


- 37 -


The effective tax rate for fiscal 2018 and 2017 was 16.7% and 15.7%, respectively. The net increase in the effective tax rate was primarily attributable to changes in the geographic mix of pre-tax earnings, partly offset by a provisional net tax benefit of $125 million as a result of U.S. tax law changes enacted in December 2017. In addition, the Company’s results for fiscal 2018 also include a net reduction to the effective tax rate for the current year as a result of the U.S. tax law changes.

Adjusted diluted net earnings per share (Non-GAAP measure) fiscal 2018 compared to fiscal 2017
Adjusted net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance in fiscal 2018 increased 8.8 percent to $6.0 billion compared with the prior year. Adjusted diluted net earnings per share in fiscal 2018 increased 18.0 percent to $6.02 compared with the prior year. Adjusted net earnings and adjusted diluted earnings per share were positively impacted by 0.8 percentage points and 0.9 percentage points, respectively, as a result of currency translation.

Excluding the impact of currency translation, the increase in adjusted net earnings and adjusted diluted net earnings per share for fiscal 2018 primarily reflect the impact of U.S. tax law changes and increased adjusted operating income. Adjusted diluted net earnings per share was also positively affected by a lower number of shares outstanding compared with the prior year. See “--Non-GAAP Measures” below for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP measure.

Fiscal 2017 compared to fiscal 2016
Fiscal 2017 net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance decreased 2.3 percent to $4.1 billion, while diluted net earnings per share decreased 1.0 percent to $3.78 compared with the prior year. The decreases reflect Rite Aid related costs, the phasing of the Company’s Cost Transformation Program and the impact in the prior year of the change in accounting method for the Company’s investment in AmerisourceBergen, largely offset by the reduction in the fair value of the Company’s AmerisourceBergen warrants, improvements in selling, general and administration expenses before cost transformation expenses and a lower effective tax rate.

Other expense for fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2016 was $11 million and $261 million, respectively. In fiscal 2016, the change in fair value of the Company’s AmerisourceBergen warrants resulted in a loss of $517 million, and additionally, the Company recognized income of $268 million related to the change in accounting method for its investment in AmerisourceBergen.

Interest was a net expense of $693 million and $596 million in fiscal 2017 and 2016, respectively. The increase mainly reflects the prefunded acquisition financing costs relating to the Rite Aid transaction.

The effective tax rate for fiscal 2017 and 2016 was 15.7% and 19.4%, respectively. The net decrease in the effective tax rate was primarily attributable to changes in the geographic mix of pre-tax earnings, favorable changes in permanent differences between the Company’s financial statement earnings and taxable profits as well as incremental discrete tax benefits. The mix of pre-tax earnings was notably impacted by the Cost Transformation Program and costs associated with the termination of the Rite Aid Merger Agreement, both of which reduced the Company’s U.S. pre-tax earnings. For fiscal 2017, net discrete tax benefits resulted primarily from deferred tax benefits related to a change in the U.K. tax rate, adopting ASU 2016-09 and net tax benefits associated with prior tax years.

Adjusted diluted net earnings per share (Non-GAAP measure) fiscal 2017 compared to fiscal 2016
Adjusted net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance in fiscal 2017 increased 9.9 percent to $5.5 billion compared with the prior year. Adjusted diluted net earnings per share in fiscal 2017 increased 11.1 percent to $5.10 compared with the prior year. Adjusted net earnings and adjusted diluted earnings per share were negatively impacted by 1.7 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points, respectively, as a result of currency translation.

Excluding the impact of currency translation, the increase in adjusted net earnings and adjusted diluted net earnings per share for fiscal 2017 was primarily due to an increase in equity earnings from AmerisourceBergen and a lower effective tax rate. See “--Non-GAAP Measures” below for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP measure.

RESULTS OF OPERATIONS BY SEGMENT

Retail Pharmacy USA
This division comprises the retail pharmacy business operating in the U.S.

- 38 -


 
 
(in millions, except location amounts)
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Sales
 
$
98,392

 
$
87,302

 
$
83,802

Gross profit
 
23,758

 
22,450

 
22,323

Selling, general and administrative expenses
 
18,862

 
18,255

 
17,918

Operating income
 
4,896

 
4,195

 
4,405

Adjusted operating income (Non-GAAP measure)1
 
5,923

 
5,707

 
5,357

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Number of prescriptions2
 
823.1

 
764.4

 
740.1

30-day equivalent prescriptions2,3
 
1,094.4

 
989.7

 
928.5

Number of locations at period end
 
9,569

 
8,109

 
8,184

 
 
Percentage increases (decreases)
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Sales
 
12.7
 
4.2
 
3.5
Gross profit
 
5.8
 
0.6
 
2.3
Selling, general and administrative expenses
 
3.3
 
1.9
 
(1.8)
Operating income
 
16.7
 
(4.8)
 
13.2
Adjusted operating income (Non-GAAP measure)1
 
3.8
 
6.5
 
5.1
Comparable store sales4
 
1.5
 
2.8
 
3.8
Pharmacy sales
 
17.2
 
7.3
 
5.5
Comparable pharmacy sales4
 
3.4
 
4.7
 
6.0
Retail sales
 
2.4
 
(2.4)
 
(0.3)
Comparable retail sales4
 
(2.4)
 
(1.0)
 
(0.3)
Comparable number of prescriptions2,4
 
0.8
 
4.0
 
2.3
Comparable 30-day equivalent prescriptions2,3,4
 
3.5
 
7.1
 
4.0
 
 
Percent to sales
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Gross margin
 
24.1
 
25.7
 
26.6
Selling, general and administrative expenses
 
19.2
 
20.9
 
21.4
1 
See “--Non-GAAP Measures” below for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable financial measure calculated in accordance with GAAP.
2 
Includes immunizations.
3 
Includes the adjustment to convert prescriptions greater than 84 days to the equivalent of three 30-day prescriptions. This adjustment reflects the fact that these prescriptions include approximately three times the amount of product days supplied compared to a normal prescription.
4 
Comparable stores are defined as those that have been open for at least twelve consecutive months without closure for seven or more consecutive days and without a major remodel or subject to a natural disaster in the past twelve months. Relocated and acquired stores are not included as comparable stores for the first twelve months after the relocation or acquisition. The method of calculating comparable sales varies across the retail industry. As a result, the Company’s method of calculating comparable sales may not be the same as other retailers’ methods. The fiscal year ended August 31, 2016 figures include an adjustment to remove February 29, 2016 results due to the leap year.

Sales fiscal 2018 compared to fiscal 2017
The Retail Pharmacy USA division’s sales for fiscal 2018 increased by 12.7% to $98.4 billion. Sales in comparable stores were up 1.5% in fiscal 2018. The Company operated 9,569 locations (9,560 retail stores) as of August 31, 2018, compared to 8,109 locations (8,100 retail stores) a year earlier.

Pharmacy sales increased by 17.2% in fiscal 2018 and represented 72.2% of the division’s sales. The increase in fiscal 2018 is due to higher prescription volumes, including central specialty and mail following the formation of AllianceRx Walgreens

- 39 -


Prime and from the acquisition of Rite Aid stores. This increase was partially offset by reimbursement pressure and the impact of generics. In fiscal 2017, pharmacy sales increased 7.3% and represented 69.4% of the division’s sales. Comparable pharmacy sales increased 3.4% in fiscal 2018 compared to an increase of 4.7% in fiscal 2017. The effect of generic drugs, which have a lower retail price, replacing brand name drugs reduced prescription sales by 1.4% in fiscal 2018 compared to a reduction of 2.4% in fiscal 2017. The effect of generics on division sales was a reduction of 0.9% in fiscal 2018 compared to a reduction of 1.5% for fiscal 2017. Third-party sales, where reimbursement is received from managed care organizations, governmental agencies, employers or private insurers, were 98.3% of prescription sales for fiscal 2018 compared to 97.7% for fiscal 2017. The total number of prescriptions (including immunizations) filled in fiscal 2018 was 823.1 million compared to 764.4 million in fiscal 2017. Prescriptions (including immunizations) adjusted to 30-day equivalents were 1,094.4 million in fiscal 2018 compared to 989.7 million in fiscal 2017. The increase in prescription volume was primarily driven by the acquisition of Rite Aid stores and from strategic pharmacy partnerships.

Retail sales increased 2.4% in fiscal 2018 and were 27.8% of the division’s sales. In comparison, fiscal 2017 retail sales decreased 2.4% and comprised 30.6% of the division’s sales. Comparable retail sales decreased 2.4% in fiscal 2018 compared to a decrease of 1.0% in fiscal 2017. The decrease in comparable retail sales in fiscal 2018 was primarily due to declines in the consumables and general merchandise category and in the personal care category, which were partially offset by growth in the health and wellness category and in the beauty category.
 
Operating income fiscal 2018 compared to fiscal 2017
Retail Pharmacy USA division’s operating income for fiscal 2018 increased 16.7% to $4.9 billion. The increase was primarily due to reduction in selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales and higher sales, partially offset by lower gross margin.

Gross margin was 24.1% in fiscal 2018 compared to 25.7% in fiscal 2017. Pharmacy margins were negatively impacted in the current fiscal year by a higher mix of specialty sales and by lower third-party reimbursements. The decrease in pharmacy margins was partially offset by the favorable impact of procurement efficiencies. Retail margins were positively impacted in the current fiscal year primarily due to underlying margin improvement from changes in promotional plans.

Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales were 19.2% in fiscal 2018 compared to 20.9% in fiscal 2017. As a percentage of sales, expenses were lower primarily due to sales mix in the current period and costs from the Cost Transformation Program in the year ago period, partially offset by certain legal and regulatory accruals in the current period.
 
Adjusted operating income (Non-GAAP measure) fiscal 2018 compared to fiscal 2017
Retail Pharmacy USA division’s adjusted operating income for fiscal 2018 increased 3.8% to $5.9 billion. The increase was primarily due to a reduction in selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales and higher sales, partially offset by lower gross margin. See “--Non-GAAP Measures” below for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP measure.
 
Sales fiscal 2017 compared to fiscal 2016
The Retail Pharmacy USA division’s sales for fiscal 2017 increased by 4.2% to $87.3 billion. Sales increased primarily due to higher comparable store sales, which were up 2.8% in fiscal 2017 driven by growth in Medicare Part D prescriptions and strategic partnerships. Sales were also higher due to the inclusion of five months of results for AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, the Company’s recently formed central specialty and mail services business. The Company operated 8,109 locations (8,100 retail stores) as of August 31, 2017, compared to 8,184 locations (8,175 retail stores) a year earlier.

Pharmacy sales increased by 7.3% in fiscal 2017 and represented 69.4% of the division’s sales. The increase in fiscal 2017 is due to higher prescription volumes, including central specialty and mail following the formation of AllianceRx Walgreens Prime in March 2017. This increase was partially offset by the impact of generics and reimbursement pressure. In fiscal 2016, pharmacy sales increased 5.5% and represented 67.4% of the division’s sales. Comparable pharmacy sales increased 4.7% in fiscal 2017 compared to an increase of 6.0% in fiscal 2016. The effect of generic drugs, which have a lower retail price, replacing brand name drugs reduced prescription sales by 2.4% in fiscal 2017 compared to a reduction of 1.9% in fiscal 2016. The effect of generics on division sales was a reduction of 1.5% in fiscal 2017 compared to a reduction of 1.1% for fiscal 2016. Third-party sales, where reimbursement is received from managed care organizations, governmental agencies, employers or private insurers, were 97.7% of prescription sales for fiscal 2017 compared to 97.4% for fiscal 2016. The total number of prescriptions (including immunizations) filled in fiscal 2017 was 764.4 million compared to 740.1 million in fiscal 2016. Prescriptions (including immunizations) adjusted to 30-day equivalents were 989.7 million in fiscal 2017 compared to 928.5 million in fiscal 2016. The increase in prescription volume was primarily driven by Medicare Part D growth and the impact of strategic partnerships.


- 40 -


Retail sales decreased 2.4% in fiscal 2017 and were 30.6% of the division’s sales. In comparison, fiscal 2016 retail sales decreased 0.3% and comprised 32.6% of the division’s sales. Comparable retail sales decreased 1.0% in fiscal 2017 compared to a decrease of 0.3% in fiscal 2016. The decrease in comparable retail sales growth in fiscal 2017 was primarily due to declines in the consumables and general merchandise category and in the personal care category, which were partially offset by growth in the health and wellness category and in the beauty category.

Operating income fiscal 2017 compared to fiscal 2016
Retail Pharmacy USA division’s operating income for fiscal 2017 decreased 4.8% to $4.2 billion. The decrease was primarily due to higher selling, general and administrative expenses related to the Rite Aid transaction and the Cost Transformation Program, partially offset by an increase in gross profit.

Gross margin was 25.7% in fiscal 2017 compared to 26.6% in fiscal 2016. Pharmacy margins were negatively impacted in the current fiscal year by lower third-party reimbursements and a higher mix of specialty sales. The decrease in pharmacy margins was partially offset by the favorable impact of procurement efficiencies. Retail margins were positively impacted in the current fiscal year primarily due to underlying margin improvement from actions taken the prior year, changes in promotional plans and sales mix.

Selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales were 20.9% in fiscal 2017 compared to 21.4% in fiscal 2016. As a percentage of sales, expenses in the current fiscal year were lower primarily due to higher sales, sales mix and increased efficiencies from the Cost Transformation Program.

Adjusted operating income (Non-GAAP measure) fiscal 2017 compared to fiscal 2016
Retail Pharmacy USA division’s adjusted operating income for fiscal 2017 increased 6.5% to $5.7 billion. The increase was primarily due to higher pharmacy volume, lower selling, general and administrative expenses and improved retail margins. See “--Non-GAAP Measures” below for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP measure.

Retail Pharmacy International
This division comprises retail pharmacy businesses operating in countries outside of the U.S. and in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, including the British pound sterling, Euro, Chilean peso and Mexican peso and therefore the division’s results are impacted by movements in foreign currency exchange rates. See item 7A, quantitative and qualitative disclosure about market risk, foreign currency exchange rate risk, for further information on currency risk.
 
 
(in millions, except location amounts)
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Sales
 
$
12,281

 
$
11,813

 
$
13,256

Gross profit
 
4,958

 
4,753

 
5,432

Selling, general and administrative expenses
 
4,116

 
4,012

 
4,403

Operating income
 
842

 
741

 
1,029

Adjusted operating income (Non-GAAP measure)1
 
947

 
909

 
1,155

Number of locations at period end
 
4,767

 
4,722

 
4,673



- 41 -


 
 
Percentage increases (decreases)
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Sales
 
4.0
 
(10.9)
 
53.1
Gross profit
 
4.3
 
(12.5)
 
57.4
Selling, general and administrative expenses
 
2.6
 
(8.9)
 
44.7
Operating income
 
13.6
 
(28.0)
 
151.6
Adjusted operating income (Non-GAAP measure)1
 
4.2
 
(21.3)
 
87.5
Comparable store sales2
 
4.7
 
(10.6)
 
NA
Comparable store sales in constant currency2,3
 
(1.4)
 
(0.2)
 
NA
Pharmacy sales
 
4.3
 
(10.5)
 
46.2
Comparable pharmacy sales2
 
4.7
 
(10.7)
 
NA
Comparable pharmacy sales in constant currency2,3
 
(1.2)
 
(1.0)
 
NA
Retail sales
 
3.8
 
(11.1)
 
57.1
Comparable retail sales2
 
4.7
 
(10.6)
 
NA
Comparable retail sales in constant currency2,3
 
(1.5)
 
0.2
 
NA
 
 
Percent to sales
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Gross margin
 
40.4
 
40.2
 
41.0
Selling, general and administrative expenses
 
33.5
 
34.0
 
33.2
NA
Not Applicable
1 
See “--Non-GAAP Measures” below for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable financial measure calculated in accordance with GAAP.
2 
Comparable stores are defined as those that have been open for at least twelve consecutive months without closure for seven or more consecutive days and without a major remodel or a natural disaster in the past twelve months. Relocated and acquired stores are not included as comparable stores for the first twelve months after the relocation or acquisition. The method of calculating comparable sales varies across the retail industry. As a result, the Company’s method of calculating comparable sales may not be the same as other retailers’ methods. The fiscal year ended August 31, 2016 comparable sales figures include an adjustment to remove February 29, 2016 results due to the leap year.
3 
The Company presents certain information related to current period operating results in “constant currency,” which is a non-GAAP financial measure. These amounts are calculated by translating current period results at the foreign currency exchange rates used in the comparable period in the prior year. The Company presents such constant currency financial information because it has significant operations outside of the United States reporting in currencies other than the U.S. dollar and this presentation provides a framework to assess how its business performed excluding the impact of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. See “--Non-GAAP Measures” below.

Sales fiscal 2018 compared to fiscal 2017
Retail Pharmacy International division’s sales for fiscal 2018 increased 4.0% to $12.3 billion. Sales in comparable stores increased 4.7%. The positive impact of currency translation on each of sales and comparable sales was 6.1 percentage points, and as such, comparable store sales in constant currency decreased 1.4%.

Pharmacy sales increased 4.3% in fiscal 2018 and represented 35.0% of the division’s sales. Comparable pharmacy sales increased 4.7%. The positive impact of currency translation on pharmacy sales and comparable pharmacy sales was 5.8 percentage points and 5.9 percentage points, respectively. Comparable pharmacy sales in constant currency decreased 1.2% mainly due to lower prescription volume and continuing UK government reimbursement pressure.

Retail sales increased 3.8% for fiscal 2018 and represented 65.0% of the division’s sales. Comparable retail sales increased 4.7%. The positive impact of currency translation on each of retail sales and comparable retail sales was 6.2 percentage points. Comparable retail sales in constant currency decreased 1.5% primarily due to Boots UK, reflecting a challenging retail market.

Operating income fiscal 2018 compared to fiscal 2017
Retail Pharmacy International division’s operating income for fiscal 2018 increased 13.6% to $842 million. Operating income was positively impacted by 7.1 percentage points ($53 million) of currency translation. The remaining increase was due to

- 42 -


lower selling, general and administrative expenses primarily due to costs from the Cost Transformation Program in the year ago period.

Gross profit increased 4.3% in fiscal 2018. Gross profit was positively impacted by 6.1 percentage points ($289 million) of currency translation.

Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 2.6% from fiscal 2018. Expenses were negatively impacted by 5.9 percentage points ($236 million) as a result of currency translation. As a percentage of sales, selling, general and administrative expenses were 33.5% in fiscal 2018, compared to 34.0% in the prior fiscal year.

Adjusted operating income (Non-GAAP measure) fiscal 2018 compared to fiscal 2017
Retail Pharmacy International division’s adjusted operating income for fiscal 2018 increased 4.2% to $947 million. Adjusted operating income was positively impacted by 6.4 percentage points ($58 million) of currency translation. Excluding the impact of currency translation, the decrease in adjusted operating income was primarily due to lower gross profit and higher selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales. See “--Non-GAAP Measures” below for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP measure.

Sales fiscal 2017 compared to fiscal 2016
Retail Pharmacy International division’s sales for fiscal 2017 decreased 10.9% to $11.8 billion. Sales in comparable stores decreased 10.6%. The negative impact of currency translation on each of sales and comparable sales was 10.4 percentage points, and as such, comparable store sales in constant currency decreased 0.2%.

Pharmacy sales decreased 10.5% in fiscal 2017 and represented 35.4% of the division’s sales. Comparable pharmacy sales decreased 10.7%. The negative impact of currency translation on each of pharmacy sales and comparable pharmacy sales was 9.7 percentage points, and as such, comparable pharmacy sales in constant currency decreased 1.0% mainly due to the negative impact of a reduction in pharmacy funding in the United Kingdom.

Retail sales decreased 11.1% for fiscal 2017 and were 64.6% of the division’s sales. Comparable retail sales decreased 10.6%. The negative impact of currency translation on retail sales and comparable retail sales was 10.7 percentage points and 10.8 percentage points, respectively. Comparable retail sales in constant currency increased 0.2% primarily reflecting growth in the United Kingdom.

Operating income fiscal 2017 compared to fiscal 2016
Retail Pharmacy International division’s operating income for fiscal 2017 decreased 28.0% to $741 million of which 8.7 percentage points ($89 million) was a result of the negative impact of currency translation. The remaining decrease was due to lower gross profit and higher selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales.

Gross profit decreased 12.5% from prior fiscal year of which 10.3 percentage points ($558 million) was as a result of the negative impact of currency translation.

Selling, general and administrative expenses decreased 8.9% from prior fiscal year. Expenses were positively impacted by 10.7 percentage points ($469 million) as a result of currency translation. As a percentage of sales, selling, general and administrative expenses were 34.0% in fiscal 2017, compared to 33.2% in the prior fiscal year.

Adjusted operating income (Non-GAAP measure) fiscal 2017 compared to fiscal 2016
Retail Pharmacy International division’s adjusted operating income for the fiscal 2017 decreased 21.3% to $909 million of which 9.4 percentage points ($108 million) was as a result of the negative impact of currency translation. The remaining decrease was primarily due to lower gross profit and higher selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales. See “--Non-GAAP Measures” below for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP measure.


- 43 -


Pharmaceutical Wholesale
This division includes pharmaceutical wholesale businesses operating in currencies other than the U.S. dollar including the British pound sterling, Euro and Turkish lira, and thus the division’s results are impacted by movements in foreign currency exchange rates. See item 7A, quantitative and qualitative disclosure about market risk, foreign currency exchange rate risk, for further information on currency risk.
 
 
(in millions)
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Sales
 
$
23,006

 
$
21,188

 
$
22,571

Gross profit
 
2,081

 
1,965

 
2,131

Selling, general and administrative expenses
 
1,596

 
1,479

 
1,589

Equity earnings from AmerisourceBergen
 
191

 
135

 
37

Operating income
 
676

 
621

 
579

Adjusted operating income (Non-GAAP measure)1
 
934

 
924

 
708

 
 
Percentage increases (decreases)
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Sales
 
8.6
 
(6.1)
 
47.3
Gross profit
 
5.9
 
(7.8)
 
43.4
Selling, general and administrative expenses
 
7.9
 
(6.9)
 
43.2
Equity earnings from AmerisourceBergen
 
41.5
 
264.9
 
NA
Operating income
 
8.9
 
7.3
 
54.0
Adjusted operating income (Non-GAAP measure)1
 
1.1
 
30.5
 
57.3
Comparable sales2
 
8.6
 
(3.9)
 
NA
Comparable sales in constant currency2,3
 
4.2
 
4.7
 
NA
 
 
Percent to sales
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Gross margin
 
9.0
 
9.3
 
9.4
Selling, general and administrative expenses
 
6.9
 
7.0
 
7.0
NA
Not Applicable
1 
See “--Non-GAAP Measures” below for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP measure and related disclosures.
2 
Comparable Sales are defined as sales excluding acquisitions and dispositions. The fiscal year ended August 31, 2016 comparable sales figures include an adjustment to remove February 29, 2016 results due to the leap year.
3 
The Company presents certain information related to current period operating results in “constant currency,” which is a non-GAAP financial measure. These amounts are calculated by translating current period results at the foreign currency exchange rates used in the comparable period in the prior year. The Company presents such constant currency financial information because it has significant operations outside of the United States reporting in currencies other than the U.S. dollar and this presentation provides a framework to assess how its business performed excluding the impact of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. See “--Non-GAAP Measures” below.

Sales fiscal 2018 compared to fiscal 2017
Pharmaceutical Wholesale division’s sales for the fiscal 2018 increased 8.6% to $23.0 billion. Comparable sales, which exclude acquisitions and dispositions, increased 8.6%.

Sales and comparable sales were positively impacted by 4.4 percentage points as a result of currency translation. Comparable sales in constant currency increased 4.2%, mainly reflecting growth in emerging markets.

Operating income fiscal 2018 compared to fiscal 2017
Pharmaceutical Wholesale division’s operating income for fiscal 2018, which included $191 million from the Company’s share of equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen, increased 8.9% to $676 million. Operating income was positively impacted by 0.2

- 44 -


percentage points ($1 million) as a result of currency translation. The remaining increase was due to the Company’s share of equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen.

Gross profit increased 5.9% from prior fiscal year after a positive impact of currency translation of 4.2 percentage points ($82 million).

Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 7.9% from the prior fiscal year, after a negative impact of currency translation of 5.5 percentage points ($81 million). As a percentage of sales, selling, general and administrative expenses were 6.9% in fiscal 2018, compared to 7.0% in fiscal 2017.

Adjusted operating income (Non-GAAP measure) fiscal 2018 compared to fiscal 2017
Pharmaceutical Wholesale division’s adjusted operating income for fiscal 2018, which included $366 million from the Company’s share of adjusted equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen, increased 1.1% to $934 million. Adjusted operating income was positively impacted by 0.6 percentage points ($5 million) as a result of currency translation.

Excluding the contribution from the Company’s share of adjusted equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen and the positive impact of currency translation, adjusted operating income decreased 6.5% ($39 million) over the prior fiscal year, primarily due to lower gross margin and higher selling, general and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales partially offset by higher sales. See “--Non-GAAP Measures” below for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP measure.

Sales fiscal 2017 compared to fiscal 2016
Pharmaceutical Wholesale division’s sales for the fiscal 2017 decreased 6.1% to $21.2 billion. Comparable sales, which exclude acquisitions and dispositions, decreased 3.9%.

Sales and comparable sales were negatively impacted by 8.4 percentage points and 8.6 percentage points, respectively, as a result of currency translation. Comparable sales in constant currency increased 4.7%, reflecting growth in emerging markets and the United Kingdom, partially offset by challenging market conditions in continental Europe.

Operating income fiscal 2017 compared to fiscal 2016
Pharmaceutical Wholesale division’s operating income for fiscal 2017, which included $135 million from the Company’s share of equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen, increased 7.3% to $621 million. Operating income was negatively impacted by 10.3 percentage points ($60 million) as a result of currency translation.

Gross profit decreased 7.8% from prior fiscal year after a negative impact of currency translation of 8.4 percentage points ($179 million).

Selling, general and administrative expenses decreased 6.9% from the prior fiscal year, after a positive impact of currency translation of 7.5 percentage points ($119 million). As a percentage of sales, selling, general and administrative expenses were 7.0% in each of fiscal 2017 and fiscal 2016.

Adjusted operating income (Non-GAAP measure) fiscal 2017 compared to fiscal 2016
Pharmaceutical Wholesale division’s adjusted operating income for fiscal 2017, which included $322 million from the Company’s share of adjusted equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen, increased 30.5% to $924 million. Adjusted operating income was negatively impacted by 9.9 percentage points ($70 million) as a result of currency translation.

Excluding the contribution from the Company’s share of adjusted equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen and the negative impact of currency translation, adjusted operating income increased 3.4% over the prior fiscal year. See “--Non-GAAP Measures” below for a reconciliation to the most directly comparable GAAP measure.

NON-GAAP MEASURES
The following information provides reconciliations of the supplemental non-GAAP financial measures, as defined under the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission, presented herein to the most directly comparable financial measures calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP. The Company has provided the non-GAAP financial measures, which are not calculated or presented in accordance with GAAP, as supplemental information and in addition to the financial measures that are calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP.

These supplemental non-GAAP financial measures are presented because the Company’s management has evaluated its financial results both including and excluding the adjusted items or the effects of foreign currency translation, as applicable, and believes that the supplemental non-GAAP financial measures presented provide additional perspective and insights when

- 45 -


analyzing the core operating performance of the Company from period to period and trends in its historical operating results. These supplemental non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered superior to, as a substitute for or as an alternative to, and should be considered in conjunction with, the GAAP financial measures presented.

The Company also presents certain information related to current period operating results in “constant currency,” which is a non-GAAP financial measure. These amounts are calculated by translating current period results at the foreign currency exchange rates used in the comparable period in the prior year. The Company presents such constant currency financial information because it has significant operations outside of the United States reporting in currencies other than the U.S. dollar and such presentation provides a framework to assess how its business performed excluding the impact of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations.
 
 
(in millions)
 
 
Twelve months ended August 31, 2018
 
 
Retail
Pharmacy
USA
 
Retail
Pharmacy
International
 
Pharmaceutical
Wholesale
 
Eliminations
 
Walgreens
Boots
Alliance, Inc.
Operating income (GAAP)
 
$
4,896

 
$
842

 
$
676

 
$

 
$
6,414

Acquisition-related amortization
 
260

 
105

 
83

 

 
448

Certain legal and regulatory accruals and settlements1
 
284

 

 

 

 
284

Acquisition-related costs
 
231

 

 

 

 
231

Adjustments to equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen
 

 

 
175

 

 
175

Store optimization
 
100

 

 

 

 
100

LIFO provision
 
84

 

 

 

 
84

Hurricane-related costs
 
83

 

 

 

 
83

Asset recovery
 
(15
)
 

 

 

 
(15
)
Adjusted operating income (Non-GAAP measure)
 
$
5,923

 
$
947

 
$
934

 
$

 
$
7,804

 
 
(in millions)
 
 
Twelve months ended August 31, 2017
 
 
Retail
Pharmacy
USA
 
Retail
Pharmacy
International
 
Pharmaceutical
Wholesale
 
Eliminations
 
Walgreens
Boots
Alliance, Inc.
Operating income (GAAP)
 
$
4,195

 
$
741

 
$
621

 
$

 
$
5,557

Acquisition-related amortization
 
152

 
101

 
79

 

 
332

Acquisition-related costs
 
474

 

 

 

 
474

Adjustments to equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen
 

 

 
187

 

 
187

LIFO provision
 
166

 

 

 

 
166

Cost transformation
 
731

 
67

 
37

 

 
835

Asset recovery
 
(11
)
 

 

 

 
(11
)
Adjusted operating income (Non-GAAP measure)
 
$
5,707

 
$
909

 
$
924

 
$

 
$
7,540


- 46 -


 
 
(in millions)
 
 
Twelve months ended August 31, 2016
 
 
Retail
Pharmacy
USA
 
Retail
Pharmacy
International
 
Pharmaceutical
Wholesale
 
Eliminations
 
Walgreens
Boots
Alliance, Inc.
Operating income (GAAP)
 
$
4,405

 
$
1,029

 
$
579

 
$
(12
)
 
$
6,001

Acquisition-related amortization
 
185

 
97

 
87

 

 
369

Certain legal and regulatory accruals and settlements
 
47

 

 

 

 
47

Acquisition-related costs
 
102

 

 

 

 
102

Adjustments to equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen
 

 

 
21

 

 
21

LIFO provision
 
214

 

 

 

 
214

Cost transformation
 
374

 
29

 
21

 

 
424

Asset impairment
 
30

 

 

 

 
30

Adjusted operating income (Non-GAAP measure)
 
$
5,357

 
$
1,155

 
$
708

 
$
(12
)
 
$
7,208


1 
Beginning in the quarter ended August 31, 2018, management reviewed and refined its practice to include all charges related to the matters included in certain legal and regulatory accruals and settlements. This non-GAAP measure is presented on a consistent basis for fiscal year 2018.


- 47 -


 
 
(in millions)
 
 
2018
 
2017
 
2016
Net earnings attributable to Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (GAAP)
 
$
5,024

 
$
4,078

 
$
4,173

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Adjustments to operating income:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Acquisition-related amortization
 
448

 
332

 
369

Certain legal and regulatory accruals and settlements1
 
284

 

 
47

Acquisition-related costs
 
231

 
474

 
102

Adjustments to equity earnings in AmerisourceBergen
 
175

 
187

 
21

Store optimization
 
100

 

 

LIFO provision
 
84

 
166

 
214

Hurricane-related costs
 
83

 

 

Cost transformation
 

 
835

 
424

Asset impairment (recovery)
 
(15