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Rite Aid reports Q4, full-year losses

CEO says retailer experienced 'solid progress'

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Sales at Rite Aid fell during the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2011, according to financial results announced Thursday.

The 4,714-store retail pharmacy chain had sales of $6.5 billion for fourth quarter 2011, which ended Feb. 26, with a net loss of $205.7 million. Still, that was less than fourth quarter 2010’s loss of $208.4 million. For the fiscal year, sales were $25.2 billion, compared with $25.7 billion in fiscal year 2010. The year saw a net loss of $555.4 million, compared with $506.7 million in 2010.

“We made solid progress this quarter as our initiatives to grow sales and improve customer satisfaction gained momentum,” president and CEO John Standley said. “We increased same-store sales both in the front end and pharmacy, and grew prescriptions in comparable stores. At the same time, our team continued to do a good job of controlling costs.”

Standley also emphasized the growth of the Wellness+ loyalty program, which has 36 million members.

Over the course of the year, Rite Aid opened three new stores, relocated 28, remodeled 19 and closed 69.

The company expects the situation to improve somewhat for fiscal 2012, expecting sales of between $25.7 billion and $26.1 billion and a net loss of between $370 million and $560 million. Same-store sales are expected to increase by 0.5% to 2% over fiscal 2011.