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Early Easter cuts into April sales at Walgreens

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Deerfield, Ill. Walgreen Co. said Wednesday its total sales improved in April after it bought New York City-based Duane Reade. However, same-store sales declined 0.2%, mostly because the earlier Easter holiday was earlier than in 2009. That moved sales of some holiday items into March.

Walgreen said its total sales grew 5.9% to $5.36 billion for the month, with 2.2 percentage points of that growth coming from Duane Reade chain, which it acquired on April 9.

Pharmacy revenue rose 6% and sales of nonprescription items, including over-the-counter drugs as well as food and cosmetics, increased 4.9%.

The company ran 7,507 drug stores at the end of the month. That now includes 258 Duane Reade locations, along with 21 new stores the company opened during the month and four other acquired stores. Walgreen has opened or bought 323 stores since the end of April 2009.

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