Walgreens Boots Alliance beat analysts’ estimates for its second quarter, fueled by impressive growth in its U.S. pharmacy operations.

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“Our growth strategy of increasing and consolidating volume, differentiating ourselves through value and quality of service, and controlling costs is bearing fruit across our businesses,” Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of the Deerfield, Ill.-based retailer, said. “This is reflected in another good set of financial results in which we delivered the highest sales growth in eight quarters, as well as strong cash generation and record U.S. pharmacy market share. We expect to continue to grow, in part through the recent acquisition of stores from Rite Aid, and today we are raising our fiscal 2018 guidance.”

Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance were up $2.54 to $68.50 in pre-market trading as the Chicagoland retailer beat analyst estimates. According to reports, Wall Street had expected the pharmacy operator to report earnings per share of $1.55, up 14%, with revenue increases of 9% to $32 billion.

In addition to beating revenue expectations by $1 billion, Walgreens Boots Alliance earned $1.73 a share.

Retail Pharmacy USA had second quarter sales of $24.5 billion, an increase of 12.2% over the year-ago quarter. Sales in comparable stores increased 2.4%.

Pharmacy sales, which accounted for 70.3% of the division’s sales in the quarter, increased 18.7% compared with the year-ago quarter, primarily due to higher…