CVS ( CVS) said first-quarter earnings shot up 12%, matching analysts' expectations. The company cited gross margin improvement from sales of generic drugs and a better seasonal sell-through. The company earned $196.3 million, or 48 cents a share, compared with $175.7 million, or 43 cents a share, in the year-ago period. CVS said it increased its sales of generic pharmaceuticals and reduced its number of markdowns because of better seasonal sell-through. Sales rose 5.6% to $6.31 billion, while same-store sales rose 3.9% during the quarter. The company said pharmacy same-store sales were up 7.1%, and that total pharmacy sales represented 69.4% of total company revenue for the quarter. During the quarter, the company opened 37 new stores, closed 25 and relocated 24 others. Separately, the company said April same-store sales increased 7.1% and pharmacy same-store sales rose 7.0%. CVS also said same-store sales for the March/April period rose 4.4%. Shares of Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS closed at $25.47 Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.