"The first quarter of 2005 was one of great accomplishment,"Thomas Ryan, chairman, president, and chief executive officer ofCVS Corp. said in announcing a net earnings increase of 18.4%, or$289.7 million for the quarter ending April 2, 2005. Net salesduring the period also rose significantly, growing 34.7% to $9.18billion, the company said.

Not included in those figures were sales at Eckerd Drug Stores,which was purchased by CVS last year for $4.5 billion. Since buyingthe financially troubled chain, CVS has closed 167 of the 1,268Eckerd stores it purchased and plans another seven closings thisyear. Meanwhile the company began renovating failed chain'sremaining outlets.

"The Eckerd stores were in deep decline when we bought them,"said David Rickard, CVS vice president and chief financial officer."Today they are growing."

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