Rite Aid same-store sales down 3% in Q3

Camp Hill, Pa. — As expected, Hurricane Sandy left its mark on Rite Aid's monthly sales as the chain reported a decline in comps for November.

The company said the 3% decrease in same-store sales for the five-week period ended Saturday included a 0.5% decrease in front-end comps and a 4.2% decrease in pharmacy comps, while same-store prescription count increased 2.2% compared with the same time last year.

The company had anticipated a negative effect from Hurricane Sandy, which hit the Northeast in October, killing dozens and leaving millions without power and forcing most retailers to temporarily close down their stores in the affected region. According to Rite Aid, the total effect of Sandy included a negative effect of 0.4% on front-end comps and 1.5% on same-store prescription count. Still, the company said last month that it did not expect Sandy to significantly affect its fiscal year 2013 sales overall.

Total drugstore sales for the month decreased by 2.3%, to $2.396 billion, from $2.452 billion in November 2011.

For the 13 weeks ended on Saturday, comps decreased by 1.5%, including a 1.1% increase in front-end comps and a 2.7% decrease in pharmacy comps. Same-store prescription count increased by 3.6%. For the year to date, comps increased by 0.3%, including a 1.7% increase in front-end comps, a 0.4% decrease in pharmacy comps and a 3.5% increase in same-store prescription count.