Rite Aid comps increase 1.3% in September

Front-end comps down 0.5%, analyst cites Irene, slower allergy season

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid same-store sales increased by 1.3% in September, compared with September 2010, the company said Thursday.

During the four-week period that ended Saturday, front-end same-store sales were down 0.5%, though pharmacy same-store sales increased 2.1%, including a 143-basis point negative effect from new generic introductions.

The softer sales for the month were expected by the company's management and analysts alike, with analyst John Heinbockel of Guggenheim Partners attributing them to Hurricane Irene and the slow start of the allergy season.

Total sales for the period increased 1.1% to $1.92 billion, compared with $1.9 billion in September 2010.

Year-to-date same-store sales increased 1.4%, including a front-end same-store sales increase of 1% and a pharmacy same-store sales increase of 1.6%. Total sales for the 30-week period were $14.5 billion, a 0.9% increase over the same period last year, when they were $14.4 billion.

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