Rite Aid Corp. closed out calendar year 2013 with increased same-store sales for December.

Rite Aid, same-store sales, December, comparable-store sales, comp-store sales, comparable stores, prescription count, front end, comparable pharmacy sales, new generic drugs, flu vaccines, flu shots, flu-related prescriptions, prescription count, prescriptions filled

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Rite Aid same-store sales rise in December

January 6th, 2014

CAMP HILL, Pa. – Rite Aid Corp. closed out calendar year 2013 with increased same-store sales for December.

The drug chain said that for the four weeks ended Dec. 28, comparable-store sales rose 2.9% year over year, up slightly from a 2.8% gain in November.

In the front end, comp-store sales edged up 1% in December. Comparable pharmacy sales grew 4.1% for the month, with results reflecting a negative impact of 102 basis points from introductions of new generic drugs, which carry lower prices but have higher profit margins.

Prescription count at comparable stores fell 2% for December, which Rite Aid attributed to a decrease in flu-related prescriptions and flu shots.

However, on Monday, Rite Aid reminded consumers about the need to get vaccinated for the flu in the wake of a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that flu activity has increased in many parts of the country. The CDC said that flu activity currently is widespread in 25 states, with increases likely in the coming weeks. Rite Aid said that season to date its pharmacists have administered over 2.4 million flu vaccines.

In December, Rite Aid's total drug store sales advanced 2.7% to nearly $2.11 billion from more than $2.05 billion a year earlier. Prescription sales represented 63.6% of drug store sales.

The company reported that for the 43-week fiscal year to date ended Dec. 28, same-store sales were up 0.5% from the year-ago period, with gains of 0.1% in the front end and 0.7% in the pharmacy. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores was flat.

Overall drug store sales for the 43 weeks inched up 0.2% to just over $20.95 billion, with prescription sales accounting for 67.5% of total drug store sales.

As of Dec. 28, Rite Aid operated 4,592 drug stores, compared with 4,630 stores a year earlier.