CVS Caremark Q4 profit up nearly 4%

Woonsocket, R.I. -- CVS Caremark Corp.'s fourth-quarter earnings rose nearly 4% to $1.06 billion, amid increased pharmacy services revenue because of a long-term contract and new business. The company raised its 2012 earnings forecast by 3 cents per share to account for gains it expects because of a contract dispute between Walgreens and Express Scripts Inc.

Net revenues for the quarter increased 15.2% to a record $28.3 billion. Drugstore revenue increased 4%. Same-store sales were up 2.5%.

For the full year, CVS earned $3.46 billion on $107.1 billion in revenue.

“As we close the chapter on 2011, we are optimistic that we can deliver even better results in 2012,” said Larry Merlo, president and CEO. “We have the right people, the right assets, and the right plans in place to continue to reinvent pharmacy and benefit from the changing health care landscape. Our retail business continues to execute successfully, while our PBM is poised to return to healthy operating profit growth in 2012.”

The chain opened 24 drug stores in the fourth quarter and closed one. It operated 7,327 as of Dec. 31.