Key Rite Aid revenue metric up 1.8 pct in January

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CAMP HILL, Pa. (AP) — Rite Aid Corp.'s revenue from established stores grew 1.8 percent in January, even though the nation's third-largest drugstore chain took a hit from softer flu-related sales.

The Camp Hill, Pa., company said Thursday that its pharmacy revenue from stores open at least a year increased 3.2 percent. But sales from the front end, or the rest of its stores, fell 1.3 percent due to a drop in over-the-counter, flu-related products.

Revenue from established stores is a key indicator of a retailer's health because it excludes the impact from recently opened or closed stores.

Rite Aid also said its prescription count at established stores dropped 2.2 percent due to a decrease in flu-related prescriptions and flu shots.

Chairman and CEO John Standley said last month that the company's front-end results also were being hurt by challenges that other retailers face: cautious consumer spending and a competitive promotional environment.

Rite Aid ran 4,588 stores as of Jan. 25. It trails only Walgreen Co. and CVS Caremark Corp. in terms of size.

The company's shares jumped 3.8 percent, or 21 cents, to $5.57 in Thursday morning trading, while broader indexes rose less than 1 percent. The stock more than tripled in value last year before closing 2013 at $5.06.

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