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Rite Aid says December sales declined 1.8 percent

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Drugstore chain Rite Aid Corp. said Monday that sales at stores open at least one year fell 1.8 percent in December, as pharmacy revenue and sales of other items both decreased.

Sales at locations open at least a year are considered an important measurement of retailer health.

Rite Aid said pharmacy revenue was down 1.5 percent for the four weeks ended Dec. 26. Introductions of low-cost generic drugs reduced sales by 1.9 percent, the company said.

“Front end” sales of non-pharmacy items fell 2.3 percent, the company said.

Rite Aid said total revenue fell 3 percent for the month, to $2.09 billion from $2.16 billion. The company operated 4,801 stores as of Dec. 26, down from 4,915 a year earlier. In the first 10 months of fiscal 2010, Rite Aid said sales at stores open at least one year are down 0.5 percent due to weakened front end sales.

The company’s fiscal year concludes at the end of February.

In morning trading, Rite Aid shares fell 3 cents, or 2 percent, to $1.48.

© 2010 Associated Press. Displayed by permission. All rights reserved.

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