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Rite Aid posts positive year-on-year July same-store sales gains

BY Michael Johnsen

CAMP HILL, Pa. Rite Aid on Monday posted positive same-store sales gains that included its Brooks/Eckerd store base.

For the four weeks ended July 26, 2008, Rite Aid same-store sales increased 1.2 percent over the prior-year period. Front-end same-store sales were up 2.1 percent while pharmacy same-store sales increased 0.7 percent.

Across the Brooks/Eckerd store base, same-store sales declined 3.8 percent over the prior-year period with a front-end same-store sales decrease of 3.8 percent and a pharmacy same-store sales decline of 3.8 percent. This compares to a 6.2 percent decline in same-store sales for the acquired Brooks Eckerd stores in June.

Rite Aid’s core stores made up the difference, with a 3.8 percent lift over the prior-year period representing front-end same-store sales of plus 4.3 percent and pharmacy same-store sales growth of 3.5 percent.

“We’re pleased with our overall sales results, especially in this challenging retail environment,” stated Mary Sammons, Rite Aid chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We had solid sales increases in the core Rite Aid stores, and sales trends in the former Brooks/Eckerd stores continue to improve as we move closer to completing the integration over the next two months. We continue to expect same-store sales in the acquired stores to turn positive in our third quarter.”

Total Rite Aid sales for the four-week period decreased 0.9 percent to $2 billion. Prescription revenue accounted for 66.8 percent of drug store sales, and third-party prescription revenue represented 96.3 percent of pharmacy sales.

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Seattle to begin charging fee on shopping bags

BY Alaric DeArment

SEATTLE Seattle’s city council approved a 20-cent charge for plastic and paper bags at retail stores in a 6-1 vote Monday. The council also voted unanimously to ban some plastic foam containers.

City officials estimate that Seattleites use 360 million paper and plastic bags each year, The Seattle Times reported.

The two votes follow bans on plastic bags that passed in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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Hallmark signs licensing deal with Fox

BY Doug Desjardins

LOS ANGELES Hallmark has signed a deal with 20th Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising that gives the greeting card company access to images and sound clips from 50 years of TV shows and movies.

The agreement will allow Hallmark to use properties like The Simpsons, Ice Age and older films including The Sound of Music in sound greeting cards and other social expression products. Hallmark will dedicate four-feet of retail space in 3,700 of its Hallmark Gold Crown stores this fall to products based on Fox properties.

“Hallmark is a blue chip partner and category leader who has already proven themselves experts in translating The Simpsons into a line of top-selling cards,” said Elie Dekel, executive VP of 20th Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising.

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