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Walgreen Second-Quarter Net Income Up Nearly 25%

Walgreen , the nation's largest drugstore chain by revenue, on Monday said fiscal second-quarter net income rose nearly 25% as sales at established stores increased on the strength of a strong retail prescription business.

Net income increased to $651.9 million, or 65 cents per share, for the quarter ended Feb. 28 from $523.5 million, or 51 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Revenue grew 14% to $13.93 billion, from $12.16 billion last year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected net income of 61 cents on revenue of $13.89 billion.

Same-store sales, or sales in stores open at least one year, a key measure of retail industry performance, grew 8.9%. Prescription sales grew 16%, with same-store prescription sales rising 11%.

Front-end, or non-prescription, same-store sales rose 5.7%. Walgreen said front-end sales were strong, especially during Christmas, and prescription sales growth outpaced retail pharmacy and mail service pharmacy units.

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