January 5, 2009 / 1:16 PM / in 9 years

UPDATE 1-Walgreen December same-store sales up 4.9 percent

CHICAGO, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Walgreen Co’s WAG.N sales at drugstores open at least a year rose 4.9 percent in December, as shoppers came to its stores for basic necessities, though they stayed away from seasonal items.

The company, which posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly profit in December, said pharmacy same-store sales jumped 8.5 percent. General merchandise, or front-end, same-store sales rose 0.4 percent.

    Walgreen, which is redesigning stores and scaling back the number of stores it plans to open, said total sales rose 10.8 percent to nearly $6.11 billion.

    CVS Caremark Corp (CVS.N), Walgreen’s main competitor, does not typically release monthly sales results. Smaller rival Rite Aid Corp (RAD.N) is also expected release its December results on Monday. (Reporting by Jessica Wohl; Editing by Derek Caney)

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