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Walgreen profit beats estimates as generic drug sales rise

Oct 1 (Reuters) - Walgreen Co, the largest U.S. drugstore operator, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit due to strong sales of higher-margin generic drugs.

Walgreen's net income rose to $657 million, or 69 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Aug. 31 from $353 million, or 39 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 73 cents per share. Analysts were expecting 72 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose 5.1 percent to $17.94 billion, just shy of the $17.95 billion analysts had projected.