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Rite Aid closes out 2011 with largest comp-store gain
January 5th, 2012
CAMP HILL, Pa. – Lifted by a calendar day shift, Rite Aid Corp. ended 2011 on a strong note by turning in its biggest comparable-store sales increase for the year.
The company said Thursday that for the five weeks ended Dec. 31, same-store sales rose 3.6% versus a year earlier. That topped comp-store gains of 1.9% in November and 2.9% in October, which previously had been the drug chain's largest same-store sales increase for the calendar year.
Overall, 2011 marked a same-store sales resurgence for Rite Aid as the drug chain posted gains each month except for March, when comp-store sales results dipped 0.1%. In December 2010 the retailer had reported its first monthly same-store sales increase since May 2009.
Rite Aid said that in December 2011, same-store sales were up 0.7% in the front end and 5.2% in the pharmacy, which reflected a negative impact of 177 basis points from generic drug introductions. Prescription count at comparable stores rose 3.2% over the prior-year period.
The chain noted that December sales were positively impacted by the New Year's holiday calendar shift. Including sales for the holiday period through Jan. 2, overall December same-store sales would have risen 2.1%, with comp-store results flat in the front end and up 3.3% in the pharmacy and prescription count gaining 1.1%.
Total drug store sales in December climbed 3.3% to $2.64 billion from $2.56 billion a year earlier, according to Rite Aid.
For the 44-week year-to-date period ended Dec. 31, same-store sales edged up 1.8%, reflecting increases of 0.8% in the front end and 2.3% in the pharmacy. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores were up 0.7% year over year. Overall drug store revenue for the year to date came in at nearly $21.55 billion, a gain of 1.4% from about $21.25 billion a year earlier.
Rite Aid said that as of Dec. 31, it operated 4,676 drug stores, compared with 4,726 stores a year ago.