Rite Aid's revenue from established stores climbed more than 5 percent last month, as growing prescription totals countered a hit from cheaper generic drugs for the nation's third-largest drugstore chain.
Shares of the Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, company started climbing Friday after it said that revenue from the pharmacies of its established stores jumped 7.3 percent, as the prescription count rose 5.1 percent compared to December 2013. Revenue from the front end, or rest of the store, climbed 1.7 percent.
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These figures are seen as a key indicator of a retailer's health because they exclude the potentially distorting impact of recently opened or closed stores.
Overall, total sales for the four weeks that ended Dec. 27 climbed nearly 5 percent to $2.21 billion. Prescriptions made up almost 65 percent of drugstore sales.
Rite Aid Corp. ran 4,570 stores at the end of the month, or 22 fewer than it operated a year ago. It trails only Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and CVS Health Corp. in terms of store count.
Shares of Rite Aid climbed 2.4 percent, or 18 cents, to $7.70 on the first trading day of 2015. That stock advanced 49 percent last year.