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Rite Aid's total, same-store sales increase in April

Pharmacy retailer announces debt purchase offer; Jean Coutu Group announces Q4 2012 results

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid reported a 2.9% increase in same-store sales for the month of April, the company said in a monthly sales report Thursday.

The boost included a 2.7% increase in front-end comps and a 3% increase in pharmacy comps, as well as a 3.8% increase in script count. Total drug store sales for the period, which ended Saturday, were nearly $2 billion, a 2.5% increase over the $1.95 billion reported in April 2011.

For the year so far, comps increased by 3.3%, including a 3.6% increase in front-end comps and a 3.1% increase in pharmacy comps, along with a 3.2% increase in script count. Total drug store sales for the eight-week period were about $4 billion, a 2.8% increase over the $3.9 billion reported last year.

The 4,658-store chain also announced that it would buy $405 million in 9.375% senior notes due 2015, which prompted Moody's to raise the company's credit rating from Caa2 to Caa1, according to published reports. The company announced in February a plan to refinance its debt by offering $481 million in 9.25% senior notes due 2020, using the proceeds to buy back its 8.625% senior notes due 2015.

Also on Thursday, the Jean Coutu Group, which owns nearly 20% of Rite Aid, announced its fourth-quarter and fiscal year 2012 results. For the fourth quarter, which ended March 3, the company had sales of C$737.2 million and profits of C$62 million, compared with C$659.8 million and C$46.5 million in fourth quarter 2011. For fiscal year 2012, the company had sales of C$2.73 billion and profits of C$230 million, compared with C$2.6 billion and C$182.6 million in fiscal year 2011.

Last month, Jean Coutu announced it had reduced its stake in Rite Aid by 24%, selling 56 million of its 234.4 million shares and reducing the number of representatives on Rite Aid's board from three to two.

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