Rite Aid comps grow 0.5% in July

Guggenheim Partners calls results 'solid'

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid reported a 0.5% increase in same-store sales for July, including a 1.2% increase in front-end comps and a 0.2% increase in pharmacy comps. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 4.5%.

Total drug store sales for the month decreased 0.1% to nearly $1.9 billion, compared with July 2011.

Same-store sales for the 21-week period ended July 28 increased 1.5%, including a 2% increase in front-end comps and a 1.2% increase in pharmacy comps. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 3.2%. Total drug store sales for the 21-week period increased 0.8%, to about $10.25 billion, compared with about $10.2 billion during the same period in 2011.

The growth in front-end comps beat analyst expectations; Guggenheim Partners analyst John Heinbockel had predicted 0.5% growth.

Heinbockel also called concerns that Walgreens would recapture much of its lost business following its settlement with pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts "overdone" and also called pharmacy "the best of both worlds, from a profit perspective."

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