Easter delivers April revenue bump for Rite Aid

CAMP HILL, Pa. (AP) -- An Easter holiday that came late this year and growing pharmacy sales pushed Rite Aid's revenue from established drugstores 5 percent higher last month.

The nation's third largest drugstore chain said Thursday that revenue from the front-end of stores open at least a year climbed 4.7 percent. The front-end includes everything outside of the pharmacy.

Rite Aid attributed most of that growth to Easter, which fell on April 20 this year compared to March 31 last year. The timing of the holiday hurt sales last month.

Pharmacy revenue from those established locations climbed 5.2 percent in the four-week period that ended April 26, despite a hit from generic drug introductions. Those hurt revenue because they are cheaper than their brand-name counterparts. Prescriptions accounted for 68 percent of drugstore revenue.

Revenue from stores open at least a year is considered a key indicator of a retailer's financial health because it strips away the volatility of recently opened or closed stores.

Rite Aid had 4,583 drugstores toward the end of April, 36 fewer than last year.

Shares climbed more than 4 percent, or 31 cents, to $7.61 Thursday morning while broader trading indexes started off largely flat. Rite Aid's stock has already advanced more than 50 percent this year.