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Rite Aid comp-store sales decline in February

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Drug chain reports year-end gains in same-store, total sales

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CAMP HILL, Pa. — Comparable-store sales continued to edge down at Rite Aid Corp. in February, but the drug chain reported sales gains for its 2016 fiscal year.

Rite Aid said Thursday that for the five weeks ended Feb. 27, same-store sales in its retail pharmacy segment dipped 0.8% year over year. That followed comp-store sales decreases of 1.4% in January and 0.1% in December.

In February, same-store sales declined 0.5% in the front end and 0.9% in the pharmacy. Rite Aid said comparable pharmacy sales reflect a negative impact of 269 basis points from introductions of new generic drugs.

Prescription count, however, increased on a comp-stores basis in February, rising 1.4% versus a year ago.

Drug store sales for February totaled $2.562 billion, up 0.1% from $2.559 billion a year earlier. Prescription sales represented 69.4% of drug store sales.

Rite Aid announced that going forward it will stop reporting monthly sales and same-store sales but will continue to provide those figures on a quarterly basis in its quarterly sales and earnings reports. The company’s deal to be acquired by Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), approved last month by Rite Aid shareholders and expected to close in the second half of this year, is pending regulatory review.

For Rite Aid’s fiscal 2016 fourth quarter ended Feb. 27, same-store sales fell 0.6%, including decreases of 0.4% in the front end and 0.8% in the pharmacy. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores edged up 0.1% from the prior-year period.

Overall drug store sales for the 13-week fourth quarter came in at $6.775 billion, down 0.3% from $6.796 billion a year earlier. Prescription sales accounted to 68.1% of drug store sales in the quarter.

Comp-store sales for fiscal 2016 rose 1.3%, reflecting increases of 0.2% in the front end and 1.8% in the pharmacy. Prescription count at comparable stores for the 52 weeks gained 0.5%.

Total drug store sales for the full year were up 1.3% to $26.681 billion from $26.349 billion in fiscal 2015. Prescription sales represented 69.1% of drug store sales.

As of Feb. 27, Rite Aid operated 4,561 drug stores, compared with 4,570 stores a year ago.


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