COMPETITIVE WATCH

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COMPETITIVE WATCH

12/22/2008
CAMP HILL, Pa. -- Drugstore chain Rite Aid, which closed 181 stores year-to-date, including 29 in its most recent quarter, told analysts last week to expect more closings in the year ahead.

During their third quarter conference call, executives said they are looking at the chain’s 4,900 units on a store-by-store basis. "I do think there will be some additional stores closures," said John Standley, Rite Aid’s president and chief operating officer. "You’ll see some clumps here and there as we work our way through it."

The nation’s third largest drug store chain reported a $243.1 million net loss in the quarter, compared to an $84.8 million loss in the year ago period, according to GlobeSt.com.

Same-store sales were up 1.4 percent year over year, rising 2.3 percent in the stores’ front ends and 1 percent in pharmacies. Total revenues were down slightly to $6.47 billion, from $6.5 billion in 2007’s third quarter. Rite Aid closed 239 stores in the last 12 months.

For the entire fiscal year, management expects same-store sales to rise between 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent year over year, down from a previous forecast of 1.5 percent to 3 percent. Net loss is forecast to come in between $593 million and $773 million, an increase from earlier projections of $445 million to $535 million.