Rite Aid reports first annual profit since 2007

Camp Hill, Pa. — Rite Aid  reported a $123.1 million profit for the fourth quarter and a $118.1 million profit for the fiscal year, compared with respective losses of $161.3 million and $368.6 million during the same period last year. It was the drugstore chain's second-straight quarterly profit and first annual gain in six years, amid  increases in prescription count  and front-end end sales.

Revenue for the fourth quarter fell 9.7%  to $6.5  billion compared with last year's quarter, which had an additional week. Same store sales for the quarter decreased 2.0% over the prior-year period, with a 0.3% increase in the front end offset by a 3.1% decrease in the pharmacy. Pharmacy sales benefited from a 3.0%  increase in the number of prescriptions filled in same stores.

For the 52-week fiscal year ended March 2, 2013, Rite Aid had revenues of $25.4 billion compared to $26.1 billion for the 53-week prior year. Revenues decreased by 2.8%, primarily driven by one less week in fiscal 2013 and the impact of lower cost generics on pharmacy sales.

 During a conference call with investors, the chain said of  its 4,623 stores, 797 feature its Wellness format, which feature specially trained staff members who walk the aisles of the stores with iPads and provide information on health and wellness products and pharmacy services, acting as a bridge between the front end and pharmacy.

Rite Aid plans to remodel 400 more stores in fiscal year 2014.