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CVS Caremark profit up 4.5%

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Woonsocket, R.I. CVS Caremark Corp. said Tuesday that its profit increased 4.5% in the first quarter, citing improvements at both its drug stores and its pharmacy benefits management business.

For the quarter ended March 31, CVS earned $771 million, up from $738 million in the prior year and exceeding Wall Street expectations.

Total revenues for the quarter ended March 31 rose 2% to $23.76 billion, from $23.4 billion in the year-ago period. Analysts expected revenue of $24.12 billion.

Same-store sales rose 2.3%.

CVS said its legal costs decreased, and it spent less money integrating the Longs Drugs Stores network, which it bought in early 2009.

CVS operates 7,063 drug stores in 44 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. It opened 48 retail stores during the first quarter, closed 10 stores and two specialty pharmacies, and relocated 53 stores.

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