managed a double-digit gain in same-store sales in March, thanks partly to the early arrival of the Easter holiday.

Same-store sales rose 11.6%, as business "benefited from an early Easter compared with Easter in April last year."

Overall sales increased 16.1% from $3.74 billion. Comparable pharmacy sales rose 10.3% during the period. Prescriptions filled at existing stores rose 9.1%.

Walgreen last week reported a record profit in its fiscal second quarter. The Illinois-based chain had net income of $490.9 million, or 48 cents a share, compared with $431.6 million, or 42 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding gains from litigation settlements, earnings rose 15.1% to $487.9 million, or 47 cents a share, from last year's $423.8 million, or 41 cents a share, a penny less than what Wall Street expected.

As of March 31, the company operated 4,761 drugstores.

Shares rose $1.29, or about 3%, to $45.00 in premarket trading.