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Key Rite Aid revenue metric edges up in June

CAMP HILL, Pa. (AP) -- Rite Aid Corp.'s revenue from established stores inched up less than 1 percent last month, as generic drugs continued to pinch results at its pharmacies, and sales from the front-end, or the rest of its stores, came in nearly flat.

The Camp Hill, Pa., company said Thursday that pharmacy revenue from stores open at least a year rose slightly 0.9 percent, while front-end sales rose 0.4 percent. The overall increase was 0.7 percent.

Revenue from 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.

An influx of generic equivalents for top-selling medicines like the cholesterol fighter Lipitor has hurt drugstore chain revenue for several quarters now because the drugs are cheaper than their brand-name counterparts. But they help earnings because they come with a wider margin between the price drugstores pay to buy them and the reimbursement they receive for doling them out.

Rite Aid, the nation's third-largest drugstore operator, said prescriptions accounted for more than 67 percent of its drugstore sales.

Total revenue for the month came in nearly flat at $1.93 billion.

Rite Aid ran 4,612 stores at the end of last month, or 36 less than it did a year ago. Its drugstore total trails Walgreen Co. and CVS Caremark Corp.

Shares of Rite Aid fell 5 cents to $2.69 Wednesday morning while broader trading indexes also slipped less than 1 percent.