Comparable-store sales rose in February at Rite Aid Corp. in spite of continued slow flu-related sales.

Rite Aid, comparable-store sales, comp-store sales, February, same-store sales, pharmacy, front end, prescription count, prescriptions filled, total drug store sales, flu-related over-the-counter products, flu-related prescriptions, prescription sales, comparable stores, fiscal 2014 fourth quarter, 2014 fiscal year, drug chain

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Rite Aid sees comp-store sales edge up in February

March 6th, 2014

CAMP HILL, Pa. – Comparable-store sales rose in February at Rite Aid Corp. in spite of continued slow flu-related sales.

Rite Aid said Thursday that for the five weeks ended March 1, same-store sales in February grew 1.5% year over year. The drug chain reported a 1.8% same-store sales gain for the previous month.

For February, front-end same-store sales fell 1.8%. Rite Aid noted that 0.5% of the decrease stemmed from declined sales of flu-related over-the-counter products.

Comparable pharmacy sales in February, meanwhile, climbed 3.1%, reflecting a negative impact of 138 basis points from introductions of new generic drugs, which have lower price points but higher profit margins.

Prescription count at comparable stores was down 1.4% for February, with 1.3% of the decline due to a decrease in flu-related prescriptions, according to Rite Aid.

Overall drug store sales in February came in at nearly $2.52 billion, up 2.4% from about $2.46 billion a year earlier. Prescription sales represented 69.1% of drug store sales.

Total drug store sales for the fiscal 2014 fourth quarter ended March 1 were up 2.2% to almost $6.57 billion from nearly $6.43 billion in the 2013 quarter. Prescription sales accounted for 67.5% of overall drug store sales for the 13-week fiscal 2014 period.

Same-store sales in the 2014 fourth quarter rose 2.1%, including a 0.7% dip in the front end and a 3.5% increase in the pharmacy. Prescriptions filled at comparable stores declined 1.8%.

For the full 2014 fiscal year, Rite Aid's total drug store sales edged up 0.5% to $25.41 billion from $25.28 billion a year earlier. Prescription sales in the 52-week period represented 67.9% of overall drug store sales.

Fiscal 2014 comp-store sales gained 0.7%, reflecting a 0.2% decrease in the front and and a 1.2% increase in the pharmacy. Script count at comparable stores dipped 0.3% for the year.

As of March 1, Rite Aid operated 4,587 drug stores, compared with 4,623 stores a year earlier.