Rite Aid narrows Q1 loss; retail pharmacy revenue rises 5.5%

Marianne Wilson
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Rite Aid narrowed its loss in the first quarter amid strong pharmacy sales, but its total revenue fell short of Wall Street expectations,   

The company reported a net loss for the quarter to May 29 of $13.1 million, or $0.24 a share, for the quarter ended May 29, compared to a loss of $63.5 million, or $1.19 a share, in the year-ago period. Adjusted earnings were $0.38 per share, topping analysts’ estimates of $0.28.   

Total revenue grew 2.2% to $6.16 billion, missing estimates of $6.20 billion. Retail pharmacy revenue rose 5.5% to $4.35 billion.  Same-store sales rose 1.4% percent, consisting of an 8.2% increase in pharmacy sales and a 12% decrease in front-end sales.

Front-end same-store sales, excluding cigarettes and tobacco products, fell 11.5%, driven by decreases in general cleaning products, sanitizers, wipes, paper products, liquor, and over-the-counter products resulting from the pandemic driven surge in the prior-year quarter.

The number of prescriptions filled in same-stores increased 11.2% over the prior-year period. In addition to the benefit from COVID-19 vaccinations, other acute prescriptions increased 3% and maintenance prescriptions increased 2%. Prescription sales from continuing operations accounted for 68.9% of total drugstore sales.

Pharmacy services revenue declined 5.3% to $1.87 billion, which the company said was primarily the result of   the loss of a large customer account and a decrease in Medicare Part D membership.

“We are pleased with our first quarter results, as we delivered adjusted EBITDA at the top end of our guidance range and continued our extraordinary efforts to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19,” said Heyward Donigan, president and CEO, Rite Aid. “Our results improved sequentially through the first quarter, and we have momentum in several areas of our business as the country began taking meaningful steps towards a post-pandemic world. With a healthier economy and the reopening of the communities we serve, combined with the execution of our RxEvolution strategy, we are well-positioned to deliver on our strategic priorities.”

Rite Aid’s total store count at the end of the first quarter was 2,506.