Rite Aid Corp. said consumer preparations for Hurricane Sandy gave a lift to same-store results in October but reported that the storm will negatively impact comparable-store sales for November.


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Retail News Breaks

Rite Aid gauges sales impact of Hurricane Sandy

November 1st, 2012

CAMP HILL, Pa. – Rite Aid Corp. said consumer preparations for Hurricane Sandy gave a lift to same-store results in October but reported that the storm will negatively impact comparable-store sales for November.

The drug chain said Thursday that for the four weeks ended Oct. 27, same-store sales fell 1.1% year over year. That was down from a 0.7% decrease in September, which had followed gains of 0.4% in August and 0.5% in July.

For October, comp-store sales rose 1.5% in the front end but were down 2.3% in the pharmacy. Rite Aid noted that comparable pharmacy sales reflect a negative impact of 971 basis points from introductions of lower-priced generic drugs. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores, however, grew 4.7%.

Total drug store sales for the four-week period declined 1.8% to early $1.92 billion from over $1.95 billion a year earlier. Prescription sales represented 68.2% of drug store sales.

Rite Aid said that about 1.1% of the front-end same-store sales increase and roughly 0.2% of the prescription count gain at comparable stores for October stemmed from pre-storm sales related to Hurricane Sandy.

The company reported that temporary store closings from the hurricane will pare same-store sales for November. The retailer said that as of the close of business on Oct. 31, 188 stores were closed or operating with no power, down from a high of 790 stores closed during the peak of the storm on Monday evening.

Rite Aid said eight stores have "substantial damage" from the storm and added that it may find more stores in that condition as its field staff are able to access to more locations and assess any damage. The company said it's "reopening the affected stores as quickly as possible."

For the 34-week year-to-date period ended Oct. 27, same-store sales were up 0.7% versus a year ago, including gains of 2.1% in the front end and 0.1% in the pharmacy. Prescription count at comparable stores rose 3.7%.

Overall drug store sales for the year to date were virtually flat at $16.463 billion, compared with $16.467 billion a year earlier. Prescription sales accounted for 68% of total drug store sales.

As of Oct. 27, Rite Aid operated 4,637 stores, compared with 4,688 stores in the prior-year period.

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