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50th Anniversary Prompts Rite Aid Promotions

Rite Aid has launched a six-month long 50th anniversary celebration initiative that includes a pitch to follow the company on Facebook. It culminates with dedicated sales promotions in January and February 2013.

Dubbed RA50, the initiative launched on September 12 down the road from the company’s Camp Hill, PA headquarters, in the nearby Keystone state capitol of Harrisburg. There, the company provided a free healthy breakfast and hosted a wellness fair for state employees at the capitol. The company also offered free wellness kits to the Harrisburg police.

After Harrisburg, RA50 events roll out to Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton, Pa., Cleveland, Detroit, Portland, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Norfolk, VA and New York City over 10 weeks. Events in each market will address specific community health and wellness concerns such as diabetes, heart disease, childhood obesity, and cold and flu prevention. Rite Aid created a website,, to provide details on the corporate-sponsored wellness events across the country.

The website encourages consumers to like Rite Aid on Facebook in return for access to special deals. The company’s Facebook wall offers links to bargains and information about more long-term promotions. In a calendar feature, Rite Aid alerts Facebook friends to upcoming events such as holidays as well as to deals. This summer, a featured promotion included Conair hair dryers, curling irons, straighteners and men’s beard trimmers. Rite Aid also is using Facebook to prompt consumers to check out its circular, which also incorporated the same Conair feature promotion as the calendar.

Shortly before Rite Aid announced the details of its 50th anniversary initiative, it released August sales. For the five weeks ended September 1, comparable store sales increased 0.4% over the prior-year period. August front-end comps, which cover general merchandise including home furnishings and housewares segments, increased 2.4%. Pharmacy comps, which included an approximate 819 basis points negative impact from new generic introductions, decreased 0.6% in the month, the retailer stated. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 4.5% over the year-ago period.

Total drugstore sales for the five-week period slipped 0.4% to $2.41 billion versus the same period last year.