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Walgreens profit jumps 18.8%, topping estimates

DEERFIELD, Ill. - Walgreens said that its profit jumped 18.8% in the fiscal first quarter on a mix of better pricing and generic drug sales.

The chain said its profit rose to $580 million, exceeding estimates. Revenue rose 6% to $17.34 billion. The company's 2011 fiscal first quarter ended Nov. 30.

Overall same-store sale sales rose 0.8% during the quarter, with front-end same-store sales rising 0.4% and pharmacy same-store sales rising 0.9%.

The revenue figure doesn't include Duane Reade, which was acquired in April.

The company said front-end sales benefited from better promotions and pricing of products, while generic drug sales gave the pharmacy a boost. The company also administered about 5.6 million flu shots through Nov. 30, marking a slight increase from last year's first quarter.

Walgreens ran 7,651 stores as of Nov. 30. It has expanded by about 500 stores over the last year, with about half that growth coming after it bought the Duane Reade chain in New York.

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