Getting a boost from flu-related business, same-store sales at Rite Aid Corp. edged up in January after four consecutive months of declines.


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Flu season lifts Rite Aid's January same-store sales

January 31st, 2013

CAMP HILL, Pa. – Getting a boost from flu-related business, same-store sales at Rite Aid Corp. edged up in January after four consecutive months of declines.

Rite Aid said Thursday that for the four weeks ended Jan. 26, comparable-store sales were up 0.3% year over year. That marked an improvement from a 2.2% decrease in December and was the drug chain's first monthly comp-store sales gain since a 0.4% uptick in August.

In the front end, January same-store sales rose 4.2 percent, of which 2.4% stemmed from sales of flu-related over-the-counter products, according to Rite Aid.

Comparable pharmacy sales fell 1.1% in January, reflecting a negative impact of 665 basis points from introductions of lower-priced generic drugs.

Prescriptions filled at comparable stores climbed 5% for the month, with flu-related prescriptions and flu shots lifting prescription count by 3.4%, Rite Aid said.

Total drug store sales in January dipped 0.5% to approximately $1.91 billion from $1.92 billion a year earlier. Prescription sales represented 68.9% of drug store sales.

For the 47-week year-to-date period ended Jan. 26, Rite Aid's same-store sales inched up 0.1% from a year ago, including a 1.6% gain in the front end and a 0.7% decline in the pharmacy. Script count at comparable stores rose 3.7% versus the prior-year period.

Overall drug store sales for the 47 weeks were down 0.6% to about $22.83 billion from $22.95 billion a year earlier. Prescription sales accounted for 67.5% of drug store sales.

As of Jan. 26, Rite Aid operated 4,626 drug stores, compared with 4,672 stores in the year-ago period.

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