CVS ( CVS) posted a 6.6% gain in June same-store sales, beating the consensus estimate, due in part to strong pharmacy sales.

Shares of the Woonsocket, R.I.-based company were rising 66 cents, or 1.6%, at $43.10 in Tuesday morning trading, just below their 52-week intraday high of $43.50 reached last Friday.

By division, pharmacy same-store sales were up 7.6% in June, while results in the front-end rose 4.5%. The consensus forecast was for an overall rise of 5.5%, according to Thomson First Call. In comparison, the company had a 4.9% rise in June 2003 same-store sales.

Total sales for the month ended July 3 were up 8.3% to $2.66 billion. Pharmacy sales made up 69.1% of total sales, said the company, which expects that its recent purchase of 1,260 Eckerd drugstores from J.C. Penney ( JCP) should close this month. CVS could take about a year to re-brand the majority of the Eckerd stores; it will close the rest.

CVS also announced that second-quarter sales were $6.94 billion, an increase of 7.7%, while same-store sales in the period were up 6.1%.

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