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Rite Aid comps increase 0.4% in August

Front-end comps rise, pharmacy comps fall; same-store prescription count rises 4.5%

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid posted a 0.4% increase in same-store sales for the month of August, the retail pharmacy operator said Wednesday.

The increase included a 2.4% increase in front-end comps and a 0.6% decrease in pharmacy comps. Total store sales for the five-week period that ended Saturday were roughly $2.41 billion, a 0.4% decrease from last year's $2.414 billion. Same-store prescription count increased by 4.5%.

"RAD's August comps were stronger than expected, both in pharmacy and at the frontend, which we believe bodes well for Q2 EBITDA," Guggenheim Partners analyst John Heinbockel wrote in response to the results, noting that pharmacy comps exceeded Guggenheim's forecast by 140 basis points, while front-end comps exceeded its forecast by 2%.

For the 13 weeks that ended Saturday, comps were flat, compared with the same period last year, including a 1.4% increase in front-end comps and a 0.7% decrease in pharmacy comps. Total store sales decreased 0.7%, to $6.21 billion, compared with $6.25 billion last year. Same-store prescription count increased by 4%.

For the 26-week period ended Saturday, comps increased by 1.2%, including a 2% increase in front-end comps and a 0.8% increase in pharmacy comps. Total store sales increased by 0.5%, to $12.646 billion, compared with $12.581 billion last year. Same-store prescription count increased by 3.5%.

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