So far, 2011 is proving to be a good year for Rite Aid Corp. on the same-store sales front, as the drug store chain saw another uptick in June.

Rite Aid, same-store sales, June, comparable-store sales, comp-store sales, pharmacy, front end, drug store, drug store chain, Ken Martindale, Russell Redman, wellness+, wellness store, customer rewards program, customer segmentation

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Rite Aid maintains same-store sales momentum

June 30th, 2011

CAMP HILL, Pa. – So far, 2011 is proving to be a good year for Rite Aid Corp. on the same-store sales front, as the drug store chain saw another uptick in June.

Rite Aid said Thursday that for the four weeks ended June 25, same-store sales were up 1.8% versus a year earlier. That topped the 1.3% comparable-store sales gain in May and, save for virtually flat results in March, continued the retailer's streak of monthly comp-store sales increases that began in December.

In June, same-store sales edged up 1.5% in the front end and 1.9% in the pharmacy. Rite Aid noted that the pharmacy comp-store results reflect a negative impact of 163 basis points from generic drug introductions. Meanwhile, prescription count at comparable stores was up 0.4% over the year-ago period.

Overall drug store sales in June rose 1% to $1.93 billion from $1.91 billion a year earlier, Rite Aid said.

For the 17-week year-to-date period, same-store sales were up 1%, including gains of 0.4% in the front end and 1.3% in the pharmacy. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores increased 0.4% versus the prior-year period. Total drug store sales for the year to date inched up 0.2% to $8.29 billion.

As of June 25, Rite Aid operated 4,703 drug stores, compared with 4,759 stores a year earlier.

Rite Aid has been generating sales momentum through a variety of initiatives, including its wellness+ shopper rewards program, which now has nearly 40 million members, and its customer segmentation strategy, in which the retailer is tailoring its store formats and selection to meet the specific needs of a particular market area.

Chief operating officer Ken Martindale said last week during a tour of Rite Aid's new wellness store in Mechanicsburg, Pa., that the chain is becoming more adept at getting consumers to come in and shop its stores.

"One of the things we're seeing with wellness+ is that we're improving the engagement level. They're seeing that, 'If I'm a good pharmacy patient, there's a tremendous opportunity for me to save in the front end of the store, so I'd rather shop here rather than go somewhere else,' " Martindale explained. "One of the key drivers for us is how do we get customers in the front end back to the pharmacy, and the ones in the pharmacy out into the front end. Part of that is giving them the products that they need, a good loyalty program that supports them and a [store] layout that is easy for them to shop."