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DEERFIELD, IL–A strong holiday selling season helped Walgreen Co. post record-breaking sales and earnings in the second quarter, even as it continues its store growth, executives said at its second-quarter conference call.

The chain also is ahead of its store expansion pace, which calls for opening 500 new drugstores this fiscal year, said director of finance Rick J. Hans.

“Our store growth plans continue unabated as we move down a clear, methodical organic growth path toward having 7,000 stores in 2010,” Hans said.

During the most recent quarter, the company agreed to acquire select assets of Farmington, CT.-based Familymeds Group. Through the deal, Walgreens will acquire 53 pharmacies in 11 states.

Second quarter sales were a record $13.9 billion, up 14.6% from the second quarter of 2006. Comparable-store sales rose 8.9%. Net earnings for the quarter ended Feb. 28 were $652 million, up 24.5% from the same quarter last year.

“Our growth in retail prescriptions filled in the quarter continued to outpace the growth in both the retail pharmacy and mail service pharmacy industries,” said President and CEO Jeffrey A. Rein, in a statement announcing the earnings. “Meanwhile, we saw solid sales increases in the front-end of the store, especially during the Christmas season.”

As of Feb. 28, Walgreens operated 5,641 stores in 48 states and Puerto Rico.

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