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Rite Aid comps up on strong flu season


CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid reported a slight increase in same-store sales for the month of January, thanks in part to strong sales of flu products.

The company posted a 0.3% increase in comps for the month of January, tat includeda 4.2% increase in front-end comps, 2.4% of which came from sales of OTC flu products. Pharmacy comps decreased by 1.4%, while same-store prescription count increased 5%, 3.4% of which came from flu-related prescriptions and flu shots. Total store sales for the four-week period, which ended Saturday, decreased 0.5% to $1.914 billion.

The retailer's January comps beat analyst estimates, particularly on the front end. Guggenheim Securities had forecast a 0.5% decrease in front-end comps, as well as a 2.5% decrease in pharmacy comps and a slightly larger decrease in overall comps.

The retailer also announced the appointment of Yong Choe as VP federal affairs and public policy. Choe previously served as director of business outreach and member services for the Republican Study Committee, chaired by Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, and worked in various roles in the government affairs division of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores between 2003 and 2010. In his new position, he will report to EVP pharmacy Robert Thompson.

"Yong's experience in public policy, coupled with his knowledge of the retail pharmacy industry, makes him a true asset to Rite Aid's government affairs team," Thompson said. "We are excited to have him on board, especially given the ever-changing healthcare landscape and the many new healthcare laws set to take place this year. We look forward to his many contributions as we continue in our mission to deliver a superior experience to our pharmacy customers."

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