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December sales falter at Rite Aid

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CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid Corp. saw same-store sales decrease in December as overall revenue came up short of year-ago results.

Rite Aid said Monday that for the four weeks ended December 26, same-store sales fell 1.8% year over year. The drug store chain posted monthly same-store declines throughout the last quarter of 2009, reporting a 0.8% decrease in November and a 0.5% dip in October.

During December, front-end same-store sales were down 2.3%, a bit less than the 2.4% falloff in November. However, pharmacy same-store results slipped 1.5% in December after coming in flat the previous month.

Rite Aid noted that December pharmacy same-store sales reflected a 188-basis-point negative impact from new generic drug introductions, and that prescriptions filled at comparable stores fell 0.2% over the prior-year period.

Meanwhile, total drug store sales in December tailed off 3% to $2.09 billion from nearly $2.16 billion in the same period last year, according to Rite Aid.

For the year to date, covering the 43 weeks ended December 26, the chain’s same-store sales dipped 0.5%, including a 2.9% decrease in the front end and a 0.7% increase in the pharmacy.

Total drug store sales for the year-to-date span fell 2% to $21.22 billion from about $21.66 billion in the year-ago period.

As of December 26, Rite Aid operated 4,801 stores, compared with 4,915 stores a year earlier.


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