Rite Aid Turnaround Brings Stock High Not Seen Since 2001

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Rite Aid Corp. (NYSE: RAD) keeps delivering on its turnaround plan. The drug store chain has moved back to profitability, and now it appears that its same-store sales report for April is the best comparable sales report in 10 years.

Same-Store sales rose by 5.0%, above the estimate of 3.4% provided by Retail Metrics. The front-end of the store even managed 4.7% growth, but it was shown that 4.6% of the increase was attributable to a shift in the timing of Easter to April from March.

Pharmacy same-store sales, which included an approximate 138 basis points negative impact from new generic introductions, increased 5.2%. Total drugstore sales for April rose by 4.9% from a year ago to $1.995 billion. Prescription sales accounted for 67.9% of total drugstore sales.

Retail Metrics said of the report:

We note that Rite Aid had a very easy year ago compare of -4.0% but it was still the single biggest monthly same store sales increase for the chain in 10 years when it posted a 5.4% gain in April 2004. Front-end comps rose a solid 4.7% beating expectations, which may augur well for Easter related selling.

Rite Aid’s quarter seems to be tracking well. The company showed that its same-store sales for the eight-week period ended April 26, 2014, were up by 2.9% over the prior-year period. Front-end same store sales decreased 0.2%, but pharmacy same-store sales increased 4.3%.

Rite Aid shares hit another 52-week and multiyear high of $7.90 earlier in the day. Mid-Thursday trading had shares up 7% at $7.81, and the 38 million shares traded was already 150% of a normal day’s trading volume.

To show just how well this is doing, Thursday’s 52-week high is the best share price going back all the way to 2001. The only concern here is that the gain is so strong on news that Retail Metrics said should have been a very easy comparison.

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