Rite Aid Corp. reported strong pharmacy sales in May, posting a 3.5 percent gain in year-over-year same-store sales.
May front-end, same-store sales increased 0.5 percent, Rite Aid said in a news release.
Pharmacy same-store sales, which included an approximate 156 basis points negative impact from new generic introductions, increased 5 percent. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 3.2 percent over the prior-year period. A basis point is equal to 0.01 percent and is used by Rite Aid to describe revenue lost due to generic drugs.
Total drugstore sales for the five-week period increased 2.5 percent to $2.484 billion compared to $2.423 billion for the same period last year. Prescription sales accounted for 68 percent of drugstore sales, and third-party prescription sales represented 97.4 percent of pharmacy sales, the release said.
Same-store sales for the 13-week period ended May 31 increased 3.1 percent over the prior-year period. Front-end same-store sales were flat compared to the prior-year period, while pharmacy same store sales increased 4.6 percent. Prescription count at comparable stores increased 2.3 percent over the prior-year period.
Total drugstore sales for the 13 weeks increased 2.6 percent, with sales of $6.425 billion compared to $6.264 billion for the same period last year. Prescription sales represented 68.4 percent of total drugstore sales, and third-party prescription sales represented 97.4 percent of pharmacy sales.
Results for the quarter ending May 31 will be released June 19, the company said. Rite Aid expects adjusted EBITDA for the quarter to be between $275 million and $285 million, net income to be between $35 million and $45 million, and income per diluted share to be 4 cents.
Based on pharmacy margin trends, particularly in May, "the company expects its results for adjusted EBITDA to trail the results for the previous year's first quarter due primarily to higher-than-expected drug costs resulting from a delay in realizing the level of expected generic purchase price reductions and a greater-than-expected reduction in reimbursement rates," the release explained.
Based on the expected results for the quarter, and the generic purchase price reductions that are expected for the remainder of the year, Rite Aid is updating its fiscal 2015 guidance for Adjusted EBITDA, net income and income per diluted share. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be between $1.275 billion and $1.350 billion. Net income for fiscal 2015 is expected to be between $298 million and $408 million for an income per diluted share of 30 to 40 cents.
Headquartered in East Pennsboro Township, Rite Aid is one of the nation's largest drugstore chains. As of May 31, the company operated 4,581 stores compared to 4,614 stores a year ago.