DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Amid the merger of drug store giant CVS with pharmacy service provider Caremark, Walgreen Co. here is taking an organic path to growth. The company said this week that it plans to open 500 new stores this year and anticipates a total of more than 7,000 stores in 2010, up from more than 5,600 stores now. Its second-quarter earnings went up 24.5% due largely to retail prescription drug sales, it said.

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