Rite Aid closes more stores

By Ian Ritter , GlobeSt.com

Rite Aid

CAMP HILL, PA-Drugstore chain Rite Aid has closed 181 stores year-to-date, including 29 in its most recent quarter. Executives at the company said during their Q3 conference call to expect more of the same in the future.

Management is currently looking at its 4,900 units on a store-by-store basis, said John Standley, Rite Aid’s president and chief operating officer. “I do think there will be some additional stores closures,” he said. “You’ll see some clumps here and there as we work our way through it.”

Store closures were, in part, what led to the company’s $243.1-million net loss in the quarter, compared to a $84.8-million shortfall during the same period in 2007. Other charges leading to the loss were a result of underperforming stores and tax setbacks.

Same-store sales at Rite Aid were 1.4% year over year, rising 2.3% in the stores’ front ends and 1% in pharmacies. Total revenues were $6.47 billion, down from $6.5 billion in 2007’s Q3 because of 239 store closings in the last 12 months.

For the entire fiscal year, management expects same-store sales to rise between 0.5% and 1.5% year over year, down from a previous forecast of 1.5% to 3%, due to the tough economic environment. Net loss is forecast to come in between $593 million and $773 million, up from $445 million to $535 million.

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