Rite Aid plunges 22% after cutting its full-year forecast as the drugstore chain saw fewer people getting colds and coughs

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  • Shares in Rite Aid fell 22% at the market open on Thursday after the company cut its full-year forecast.
  • A decline in cases related to cough, cold, and flu hurt the drugstore chain’s fourth-quarter sales.
  • Social distancing measures and a long winter impacted its fourth-quarter sales, the chain said.
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Rite Aid fell by as much as 22% on Thursday after the company said its full-year results would be undermined by declining numbers of people falling sick with colds and coughs.

The retail drugstore industry has been hit by a weak sales season, due to measures to curtail the spread of coronavirus, the company said. As a result of physical distancing, face masks, and use of sanitizers, Rite Aid said it saw a decline of nearly 37% in its cough, cold, and flu-related product categories.

Rite Aid revised its expected full-year earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation to between $US425 ($560) million and $US435 ($573) million, from a prior forecast of between $US490 ($646) and $US520 ($685) million.

“During the fourth quarter, our industry was impacted by a historically soft cough, cold and flu season, as well as the continued impacts of COVID on the deferral of elective procedures and related acute prescription volume and selling, general and administrative expenses,” president and CEO Heyward Donigan said in a statement.

Front-end same store sales, a key metric that determines how well existing locations are performing, fell 5.6% for the company’s fourth quarter that ended on February 27. The winter season also contributed to a slump in its supply chain and a drop in sales, Rite Aid said.

Rite Aid shares closed at $US23.34 ($31) per share on Wednesday, but sank 22% to $US18.28 ($24) per share at Thursday’s market open.