Rite Aid sees March revenue improvement

Drugstore chain Rite Aid sees March revenue growth from stores open at least a year

Associated Press

CAMP HILL, Pa. (AP) -- Drugstore operator Rite Aid Corp. said Thursday revenue from its established stores grew 3.6 percent last month, helped by increases from both the pharmacy and rest of store.

The Camp Hill, Pa., company saw pharmacy revenue from stores open at least a year grow 3.2 percent, despite a hit from the introduction of some new generic drugs, which are cheaper than brand-name products. Revenue from the front-end, or rest of store, increased 4.6 percent at stores open at least a year.

Revenue at stores open at least a year is considered a key indicator of retailer health because it leaves out results from locations that have opened or closed in the last year.

Total drugstore revenue for the four-week period that ended March 31 climbed about 3 percent to $1.99 billion from $1.93 billion.

Rite Aid is the third-largest U.S. drugstore chain, trailing both Walgreen Co. and CVS Caremark Corp. Rite Aid operated 4,659 stores on March 31, down from 4,711 in the same period last year.

Shares of Rite Aid climbed 7 cents to $1.78 in Thursday morning trading.

Walgreen, based in Deerfield, Ill., said Tuesday its March revenue from stores open at least a year slid 6.8 percent. That included an 11.1 percent drop in pharmacy sales.

Walgreen's sales have fallen for several months now. The largest U.S. drugstore operator has said its performance would slip this year after a contract between it and pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts Inc. expired at the end of last year.

Walgreen shares fell 32 cents to $32.98, while broader trading indexes were down slightly.

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