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CAMP HILL, PA-Rite Aid Corp. enjoyed solid gains in its first quarter, with revenues increasing 2.8%, at $4.46 billion; same-store sales increasing 2.3% as compared to the year-ago period; and net income at 4 cents per diluted share, compared to last year’s first quarter of 1 cent per share. And those figures don’t even include numbers from the company’s $2.6 billion acquisition of 1,850 Brooks and Eckerd stores from the Jean Coutu Group, as the deal closed on June 4, just after the first quarter ended. “We’ve had a profitable first quarter,” said Mary Sammons, chairman of the company, during a Q1 conference call Thursday, saying that pharmacy sales helped boost the company bottom line.

The company is moving forward swiftly to assimilate the Brooks and Eckerd stores, Sammons said in the call. “We were ready to hit the ground running,” she said. “The integration of the distribution centers is almost complete. We’ve started work on the pilot stores, and hope to have the systems conversions complete by the end of fiscal 2008 for all stores. We’ve now converted all 44,000 of the new employees to the new payroll. We feel good about our integration plans.”

She says the firm is on track to open 125 new and relocated stores this year. In the first quarter, the company opened six stores, relocated seven stores, acquired seven stores and closed or sold 14 stores. This does not include the 26 stores sold off as part of the sale agreement, or another 150 Rite Aid/Brooks and Eckard pairs of stores being examined for being too close to together, say company officials.

The company projects a net loss of between $47 million and $129 million for the fiscal year, including the estimated expense of integrating the acquired stores of $145 million. The company has more than 5,100 stores, including the new acquisition units, in 31 states and Washington, DC.

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