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Rite Aid February Same-Store Sales Rose 3.1%; Up 3% In 4Q

03/08/2012 | 09:07am US/Eastern

Rite Aid Corp.'s (>> Rite Aid Corporation) same-store sales rose 3.1% in February, marking the 11th straight month of growth for the drug store chain.

The No. 3 U.S. drug store chain behind Walgreen Co. (>> Walgreen Company) and CVS Caremark Corp. (>> CVS Caremark Corporation) reported same-store sales growth in all but one month last year -- March had a 0.1% drop -- with a boost from the rollout of a loyalty program and store renovations that expanded clinical pharmacy services and health and wellness products choices.

During February, same-store sales were up 1.9% in the front of the store. Pharmacy same-store sales increased 3.7%, despite a negative impact of 2.42 percentage points from generic drug introductions. Same-store prescription counts were up 2.2%.

For the fiscal fourth quarter ended March 3, same-store sales improved 3%, including growth of 1.6% in the front of the store and 3.8% in the pharmacy section.

Total February drug store sales rose 2.3% to $2.55 billion. Prescription sales accounted for 68.3% of drugstore sales.

For the quarter, total drug store sales rose 2.5% to $7.12 billion.

Rite-Aid, which has about 4,667 stores, has posted losses since its 2007 acquisition of the Brooks Eckerd Pharmacy chain stores that saddled it with debt just before consumers slashed spending.

The company in December reported that its fiscal third-quarter loss narrowed as same-store sales grew for a fourth consecutive quarter and interest expense and lease termination and write-down charges declined.

Shares were up 1.2% at $1.71 in recent premarket trading. Through Wednesday's close, the stock is up by slightly more than a third this year.

   -By Tess Stynes, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2481; Tess.Stynes@dowjones.com 

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