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    CVS, Rite Aid See March Sales Increase

    WOONSOCKET, R.I. and CAMP HILL, Pa. - CVS Corporation and Rite Aid separately released March store sales reports today, which increased significantly from this time last year.

    WOONSOCKET, R.I. and CAMP HILL, Pa. - CVS Corporation and Rite Aid separately released March store sales reports today, which increased significantly from this time last year. Sales this year were boosted in part by an early Easter.

    CVS, America's No. 1 pharmacy, based in Woonsocket, R.I., said same store sales for the five weeks ended March 30, 2002 increased 12.5 percent over the prior year period. Pharmacy same store sales increased 12.8 percent, while front-end same store sales increased 11.9 percent.

    Total sales for the five-week period ended March 30, 2002 increased 12.6 percent to $2.32 billion, compared to $2.06 billion in the prior year period. Total pharmacy sales represented 68 percent of total company sales in March.

    Year-to-date, same store sales for the 13-week period ended March 30, 2002 increased 10.2 percent over the prior year period. Pharmacy same store sales increased 11.7 percent, while front-end same store sales increased 7.2 percent. Total sales for the 13-week period increased 10.9 percent to $5.97 billion, compared to $5.39 billion in 2001.

    "I am pleased with our year-to-date performance. We had a very strong Easter selling season, reflecting our enhanced seasonal and general merchandise offerings," stated Tom Ryan, chairman, president and CEO. "The operations and marketing initiatives we put in place in the second half of last year are beginning to take hold, as evidenced by our sales and customer count growth across the company. Given that quarterly sales exceeded our plan, we believe diluted earnings per share will exceed our previous guidance by approximately one cent and now expect to report diluted earnings per share for the first quarter of forty-three cents."

    As of March 30, 2002, CVS operated 3,991 retail and specialty pharmacy stores in 32 states and the District of Columbia.

    Camp Hill, Pa.-based Rite Aid Corporation reported that for the four weeks ended March 30, 2002, same store sales rose 12.0 percent over the prior-year period. Pharmacy same store sales were up 13.5 percent, while front-end same store sales were up 9.3 percent. Excluding the week prior to Easter Sunday, front-end same store sales increased 5.5 percent.

    Total drugstore sales for the four-week period rose 9.6 percent to $1.210 billion compared to $1.104 billion for the same period last year. Prescription revenue accounted for 63.6 percent of drugstore sales, and third party prescription revenue represented 92.4 percent of pharmacy sales.

    Rite Aid Corporation currently operates 3,486 stores compared to 3,642 stores operated in the like period a year ago.

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