CVS Caremark 1Q Profit Rises as Sales Climb

WOONSOCKET, R.I. - CVS Caremark Corp., the nation's biggest pharmacy chain, said its first-quarter profit jumped 84 percent, helped by surging sales in the wake of last year's purchase of Caremark.

Profit climbed to $745 million, or 51 cents per share, after preferred dividend payments in the quarter ended March 29, up from $405.4 million, or 43 cents per share, in the prior year, the Woonsocket-based company said. Excluding 4 cents per share for acquisition activities, earnings were 55 cents per share, meeting the expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Revenue surged 61 percent to $21.3 billion, up from $13.2 billion a year ago, meeting analysts' estimates, CVS said.

The company said same-store sales rose 3.9 percent from the prior year, with pharmacy sales rising 3.7 percent and front end sales up 4.3 percent.

CVS purchased pharmacy benefits management company Caremark in March 2007.

Last month, CVS agreed to pay almost $37 million to nearly two dozen states and the federal government to settle claims that it had billed Medicaid programs for a more expensive antacid.

CVS operates more than 6,300 retail, specialty and mail order pharmacy stores in 44 states and the District of Columbia.

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