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    Walgreen's, CVS Report Higher Same-Store Sales in May

    NEW YORK - The two leading U.S. drug store chains, Walgreen Co. and CVS Corp., both reported higher same-store sales in May.

    NEW YORK - The two leading U.S. drug store chains, Walgreen Co. and CVS Corp., both reported higher same-store sales in May.

    Walgreen said its same-store sales rose 8.1 percent in May, driven by a 10.9 percent gain in same-store pharmacy sales.

    The drug store chain said total sales for the month grew 12.3 percent, to about $2.81 billion from about $2.51 billion in the year- earlier period.

    CVS Corp., the No. 2 U.S. drugstore chain, on Tuesday said May same-store sales increased 4.6 percent from a year earlier.

    The retailer, which ranks behind Walgreen Co., said total sales in the four weeks ended May 24 rose 6.8 percent, to $2.01 billion.

    Total pharmacy sales represented 69.1 percent of total company sales in
    May, and pharmacy same-store sales increased 7.5 percent.

    Same-store sales within the highly profitable general merchandise segment, or front-end, fell 1.2 percent.

    Other retailers also saw modest sales increases in May, according to two reports released on Tuesday. The boost was due in part to heavy rain on the East Coast, which drew shoppers inside.

    Gains during Memorial Day weekend put U.S. chain stores on track for a 1.5 percent increase for May sales at stores open at least a year, less than half of the 3.5 percent rise they reported for the year-earlier period, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi and UBS Warburg said in their weekly retail report.

    Most major U.S. retailers will report their May sales on Thursday. Analysts are expecting a lackluster performance as many companies had to slash prices to clear out leftover inventory.

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