Despite solid script count growth, Rite Aid Corp. reported declined same-store sales for December.

Rite Aid, same-store sales, December, comparable-store sales, comp-store sales, script count, pharmacy, front end, prescription count, prescriptions filled, flu shots, drug store sales, drug chain, generic drug introductions, Hurricane Sandy

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Sales at Rite Aid decline in December

January 3rd, 2013

CAMP HILL, Pa. – Despite solid script count growth, Rite Aid Corp. reported declined same-store sales for December.

Rite Aid said Thursday that for the four weeks ended Dec. 29, comparable-store sales were down 2.2% year over year. That result was an improvement from the 3% decrease in November, which included the impact of Hurricane Sandy, but marked the drug chain's fourth straight month of comp-store sales declines.

In December, same-store sales in the front end dipped 1%. Rite Aid noted that the New Year's holiday calendar shift had a negative impact of 1.1% on front-end comp-store results.

Pharmacy same-store sales fell 2.9% in December and reflected a negative impact of 605 basis points from generic drug introductions, according to Rite Aid.

However, prescription count at comparable stores in December climbed 4.4% versus a year ago. Rite Aid said increases in flu-related prescriptions and flu shots accounted for 1.7% of the script count gain.

Total drug store sales for December decreased 2.7% to $2.05 billion from $2.11 billion in the year-ago period. Prescription sales represented 62.9% of drug store sales in the month.

For the 43-week year-to-date period ended Dec. 29, same-store sales inched up 0.1%, reflecting a 1.4% gain in the front end and a 0.6% decline in the pharmacy. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores grew 3.6% during the period.

Overall drug store revenue for the year to date was down 0.6% to $20.91 billion from $21.03 billion a year earlier. Prescription sales accounted for 67.4% of total drug store sales.

As of Dec. 29, Rite Aid operated 4,630 stores, compared with 4,676 stores a year ago.