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Rite Aid reports sales uptick for March
April 3rd, 2014
CAMP HILL, Pa. – Comparable-store sales edged up in March at Rite Aid Corp. despite the negative impact of the timing of Easter this year on front-end business.
Rite Aid said Thursday that for the four weeks ended March 29, comp-store sales were up 0.7% year over year in March. The drug chain reported a 1.5% increase in same-store sales for February.
Comp-store sales in the front end declined 5.0% for March. Rite Aid noted that 4.1% of the decrease stems from the later Easter holiday, which falls on April 20 this year compared with March 31 last year.
Meanwhile, comparable pharmacy sales rose 3.5% in March, reflecting a negative impact of 133 basis points introductions of new generic drugs, which have lower prices but carry higher profit margins. Prescription count at comparable stores gained 1.1% over the prior-year period.
Overall drug store sales for March increased 0.4% to nearly $1.95 billion from $1.94 billion a year earlier. Rite Aid said prescription sales represented 69.4% of drug store sales for the month.
As of March 29, Rite Aid operated 4,584 drug stores, compared with 4,621 stores a year ago.
"Looking ahead, the company's sustained focus on expanding pharmacy and clinical services through its wellness+ customer loyalty program and remodeling of wellness stores raise our hopes," Zacks Equity Research stated in a report on Rite Aid's March sales results. "We believe that such measures will enable the company to broaden its customer base and boost top- and bottom-line performance."
*Editor's Note: Article updated with analyst comment.