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Rite Aid Front End Comps Gain In March

For the four weeks ended March 30, Rite Aid Corp. comparable store sales decreased 2% versus the prior-year period, the company reported today. March front-end comps, including those for general merchandise such as home furnishings and housewares, increased 3.8%, however.

Rite Aid attributed about three percentage points of the front-end comps increase to a shift in the timing of Easter, which fell on March 31 this year compared to April 8 last year. Pharmacy comps, which included an approximately 566 basis points negative impact from new generic introductions, decreased 4.5%. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 0.3% over the prior-year period, Rite Aid stated.

Total drugstore sales for the four-week period decreased 2.5% to $1.94 billion compared to the same period last year, Rite Aid related. Prescription sales accounted for 67.6% of drugstore sales.

As of March 30, Rite Aid operated 4,621 stores versus 4,659 stores at the same time a year ago, the company noted.