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DEERFIELD, IL-Walgreen Co. is well on its way to having 7,000 units in 2010, as the company’s executives have forecast. The retailer opened 112 during its recently-completed third quarter, bringing its total unit count to 5,251.

For the entire fiscal year, management expects to open 475 units as well as 500 stores in 2007. In the first nine months of the year, Walgreen has opened 334. “Opening up stores on the most convenient corners in America will help attract seniors to our pharmacies,” said Rick Hans, the company’s director of finance, during a conference call.

Walgreen is also making acquisitions. By the end of its fiscal year, it will close on the purchase of 76 Happy Harry’s stores, which are located in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey, in a deal announced at the beginning of the month. “We’ll continue to evaluate other potential retail pharmacy acquisitions, but we’ll pursue only those with a solid strategic fit, which are rare,” says Dave Bernauer, chairman and CEO, in a statement.

Same-store sales in the Walgreen pharmacies were up 7.6% year over year during the quarter, which ended May 31. Comparable front-end sales rose 4.6%. Prescription sales accounted for 65.2% of all revenues in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, net earnings climbed 14.2%, to $469 million, and total sales were up 12.4%, to $12.2 billion. For the first nine months of its fiscal year, earnings rose 8.8% to $1.34 billion, while sales increased 11.1%, reaching $35.2 billion.

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