After CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) reported September sales results, I'm thinking the company's moniker really stands for "Consistently Very Solid." Covering monthly sales releases for this drugstore giant is getting exciting. Here are sales results for September, the third quarter, and the year to date:

CVS Comp Sales
















Lots of retailers these days forecast "mid-single-digit" comparable sales growth. This means they don't really know what's going to happen, but somewhere between 3% and 7% would be nice. No such dithering at CVS -- "mid-single-digit" means just that.

CVS management isn't hinting at any earnings problems for the third quarter. The analyst community is tightly grouped within a couple of pennies of $0.44 per share, which should translate into third-quarter EPS growth of more than 30%, compared to $0.33 last year.

This should comfort Foolish investors who dabble in retail, since Walgreen (NYSE:WAG) dropped nearly 18% earlier in the week, after shocking the Street with lower earnings in the quarter. Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) seemed to be catching Walgreen's cold, reporting a mere 0.7% comps increase in September -- well below its year-to-date trend.

Drugstores seem to have carved out one of the sweetest spots in retail these days, with a powerhouse combination of convenience, savvy front-end merchandising, and an irresistible demographic profile. It's true that mass-merchandisers like Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Target (NYSE:TGT), and Costco (NASDAQ:COST) are trying a grab-bag of tactics to snare a piece of the prescription market, with promotions such as $4 prescriptions. But price is not the primary driver in this market today. Drugstores' combination of factors is creating a superior shopping occasion, and reviving neighborhood drugstores on just about every corner.

CVS is probably the best-positioned of the pack right now, as it capitalizes on synergies from the CareMark acquisition. At a trailing-12-month P/E of more than 22, the stock isn't cheap -- but consistent performance rarely is.

For more news from the world of corner drugstores, check out:

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